The Ed Show | September 24, 2012
>>> mitt romney 's absolutely eye-popping answer on health care in this country. it's truly incredible. even by romney 's standards. here's what romney said when he was asked, does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million americans in this country who don't have it today?
>> well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance. if someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. we pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care and different states have different ways of providing for that care.
>> that's the most expensive way to do it. the emergency room .
>> again, different states have different ways of doing that. some provide through clinics, some through emergency rooms . in my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. but i wouldn't take what we did in mthsz and say to texas , you have to take the massachusetts model.
>> romney is talking about the most inefficient and expensive way of providing health care in this country. and romney himself knows this. here he is in 2010 .
>> do you believe in universal coverage?
>> sure. it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and can go to the emergency room and get free care for which they have no responsibility. particularly those with sufficient means to pay their own way. we said, we have an idea. let's take all the money we have been spending to give out free care, paying hospitals that give out free care, and let's use those dollars to help those who can't afford it by insurance.
>> obviously in that interview, romney said the exact opposite of what he said in the "60 minutes" interview. there's no such thing as free care. americans without health insurance can go bankrupt from an emergency room visit or two. let's go a little further. a little further back in romney time. in the romney time machine to 2007 .
>> when they show up at the hospital, they get care, they get free care paid for by you and me. if that's not a form of socialism, i don't know is. if people can afford to buy insurance, or if they can pay their own way, then they either buy that insurance, but they no longer look to government to hand out free care. that, in my opinion, is conservatism. that's why the heritage foundation worked with us and was at the celebration of the signing.
>> oh, brother. in romney 's book, he said he had an epiphany about how to direct emergency room money to people who needed health insurance . that's part of the reason romney care actually worked. now mitt romney is saying, just leave it up to the emergency rooms , which he called socialism back in 2007 . mitt romney , you know what he needs to do? he needs to debate himself. we deserve it. i'm joined tonight by nicole lamaro, the director of free clinics. great to have you with us. you're out there doing great work on behalf of the people. what's your response to mitt romney saying that we care for people without insurance because they just go get it at the emergency room ?
>> well, quite frankly, i was flabbergasted. to think the answer is to go to the emergency room , it's ludicro ludicrous. it's used for emergencies. sending the uninsured to an emergency room is absolutely, positively backwards. we want the uninsured to go to doctors to get the primary and preventive care that they need so that they can be productive members of society. sending them to the emergency room when their diseases have exploded is just sentencing them to death.
>> romney also mentioned free clinics. can you even begin to address the burden of the uninsured in this country through free clinics?
>> well, i can give you -- no. let's be honest. free and charitable clinics are doing the best we can, but let's take this example. we're in texas right now. the state that he acknowledged. he said he would never do what happened in massachusetts and give it to texas . we're doing a free clinic on saturday. we already have 900 people registered to come and get care at a convention center . obviously, there's a dramatic need here in texas and across the country. our clinics are doing the work that they do with little to no federal or state support. but we rely on volunteers and donations. it's not our job to handle this entire problem of the uninsured. it just can't be done by us.
>> the plan in massachusetts has worked, but he doesn't think it should be applied to other states. what about that?
>> i find it absolutely amazing. we have 90 people already registered for the free clinic . we need more doctors and nurses to come help us because we could see up to 2,000 people in one day. 2,000 uninsured individuals who have nowhere else to go to get the care that they need. to say that there's not a problem in texas or in this country is just a mistake.
>> nicole, thank you for joining us tonight. keep up the