Why solve a problem when you can define it away?

*slaps forehead* Who knew that the whole people-without-health-insurance thing could be solved so easily?

Texas once again led the nation with the highest percentage of residents without health insurance, a U.S. Census Bureau report showed Tuesday, although the same study also reports a slight dip last year in the percentage without coverage across the nation.

Almost one of every four Texas residents – 24.8 percent – were uninsured in 2006 and 2007, based on an average of the rates for those two years. That’s up from 23.9 percent for 2004 and 2005.


But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

“So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

Brilliant! And so widely applicable. With a similar wave of the magic semantics wand, *poof*! No more unemployment or poverty, either. Why didn’t we think of this before?

Hilariously, the McCain campaign is now claiming Goodman is not an advisor, which appears to be not fully true, as well as the part where they claim his views are different from McCain‘s. That kind of whining is quite unbecoming, fellas. Thanks to Kevin Drum for the initial link.

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4 Responses to Why solve a problem when you can define it away?

  1. JM says:

    McCain and his party JUST DON’T GET IT.

  2. chris says:

    We could get rid of hunger by redefining availability of food as being walking distance from a dumpster. Problem solved. Un-freakin-belivable!

  3. Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots says:

    A problem that we do need to solve correctly:

    Clothianidin, sold under the brand name Poncho may be the culprit in bee colony collapse.

    “The Julius Kuhn Institute, a state-run crop research institute in Germany, collected samples of dead honeybees and determined that clothianidin caused the deaths.”


    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Has Bayer killed the bees?
    The News & Observer
    Aug 26, 2008 06:05 AM

    Critics claim that clothianidin is to blame for devastated bee colonies.
    Charlotte Observer

    Bayer on defensive in bee deaths

    German authorities look into allegation that RTP maker’s pesticide harms environment

    Sabine Vollmer, Staff Writer

    Bayer CropScience is facing scrutiny because of the effect one of its best-selling pesticides has had on honeybees.

    A German prosecutor is investigating Werner Wenning, Bayer’s chairman, and Friedrich Berschauer, the head of Bayer CropScience, after critics alleged that they knowingly polluted the environment.

    Read more.


    “Bayer’s … management has to be called to account, since the risks … have now been known for more than 10 years.”


    …the Natural Resources Defense Council is pressing for research information on clothianidin.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the pesticide in 2003 under the condition that Bayer submit additional data. A lawsuit, which the environmental group filed Aug. 19 in federal court in Washington, accuses the EPA of hiding the honeybee data.
    The group thinks the data might show what role chlothianidine played in the loss of millions of U.S. honeybee colonies.


    Clothianidin, sold under the brand name Poncho, is used to coat corn, sugar beet and sorghum seeds and protect them from pests. A nerve toxin that has the potential to be toxic for bees, it gets into all parts of the plant that grows from the coated seeds.


  4. hope says:

    He isn’t just defining the problem away, he is overlooking some pretty important details about the “insurance” provided by emergency rooms. People who can’t pay for care tend to delay or avoid getting needed care – some go to the ER for nonemergencies, but some end up there because they were not accessing preventive and primary care they needed. Also, those people contribute to the crowding that causes delays and sometimes diversion (thus longer waits for emergent and urgent care). They are seeking care in the most expensive setting, resulting in higher costs that get passed along to private and public payors.

    The problem isn’t just whether people have access to care. Its about how access affects care seeking behavior, costs of care, availability of care for others. And those issues don’t get defined away by calling ER use “insurance”.

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