"Yeah, That Number is Zero"
by Charles Lemos, Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:12:06 PM EDT
A word to the moronic, otherwise known as conservatives, if you're going to come to a Congressional hearing that is graced by the presence of Senator Al Franken, come armed with facts or don't bother opening your mouths. Yesterday at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Medical Debt: Can Bankruptcy Reform Facilitate a Fresh Start," Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a Senior Fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, claimed that that moving towards a European-style system of universal health care would increase bankruptcies.
Odd because the United States leads the world in medical bankruptcies. In fact, a Harvard study released earlier this year shows there has been a 50 percent increase in bankruptcies linked to illness and medical bills since 2001. In most of the cases, the people who filed for bankruptcy protection had health insurance. The study found that 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 cited medical costs as the driving factor.
In the exchange, Senator Franken repeatedly pressed Ms. Furchtgott-Rott to back her case with facts. Problem is that conservatives seem allergic to facts. She didn't "have those numbers." Could be because the number is zero and they undermine her case.
FRANKEN: I think we disagree on whether health care reform, the health care reform that we're talking about in Congress now should pass. You said that the way we're going will increase bankruptcies. I want to ask you, how many medical bankruptcies because of medical crises were there last year in Switzerland?
FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: I don't have that number in front of me, but I can find out and get back to you.
FRANKEN: I can tell you how many it was. It's zero. Do you know how many medical bankruptcies there were last year in France?
FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: I don't have that number, but I can get back to you if I like.
FRANKEN: Yeah, the number is zero. Do you know how many were in Germany?
FURCHTGOTT-ROTT: From the trend of your questions, I'm assuming the number is zero. But I don't know the precise number and would have to get back to you.
FRANKEN: Well, you're very good. Very fast. The point is, I think we need to go in that direction, not the opposite direction. Thank you.
The answer remains single-payer national health insurance program and moving the country in that direction is a national imperative. Otherwise, we are just spitting money into the wind and ruining people's lives for naught.