The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, July 12, 2007

You suck! You're not funny!

At this morning's ribbon-cutting for the newly renovated White House Briefing Room, President Bush dropped in just long enough to rub reporters' noses in his cheerful refusal to take them seriously.

There would be no answering questions about the war, or Bush's recent assertions of executive privilege, or his role in the CIA leak case. Instead, the president was in full frat-boy mode, clowning around during introductory remarks by C-SPAN's Steve Scully. Despite Scully's effusive "thank you" from the press corps -- for letting them return to their West Wing space after a year of renovations -- Bush apparently felt Scully went on too long. "I like a good, short introduction," Bush jeered as soon as Scully gave up the podium.

If only he were the dumbass, boozy heckler who annoys everyone at the Funny Bone instead of "The Special Needs President." But way down at the very bottom is this quote from Fearless Leader on Tuesday:

"The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America," he said. "After all, you just go to an emergency room."

This is about as detached from reality as you can get. Stupefying in its ignorance. And, as always, it reeks of sneering hypocrisy and contempt for those who weren't born millionaires.

From the Prospect: Except that emergency rooms are not conveniently located in neighborhoods all over the country, emergency rooms are not well suited for the provision of primary care and tend to charge rather heftily for those services, emergency room care fails to provide the kind of continuous care that is really needed and the real intended customers of emergency care (people with emergencies) will have longer waiting times than necessary if the same places are also used for primary care.

And the Washington Monthly: [A]s long as we're on the subject, it's worth noting that emergency rooms have only been required to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay since the 1986 passage of the EMTALA Act. The Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, unsurprisingly, did little to enforce it. Bill Clinton tried to step up enforcement in 1994, but in 2003, after Bush Jr. became president, he approved new rules that loosened EMTALA regulations.

Great stuff, huh? Forcing people to depend on emergency rooms while making them less reliable, less accessible, and more expensive. Now that's supply-side economics in action.