Admittedly, “stop being poor” sounds a bit like “let them eat cake.” The remark was made by Todd Wilemon, a managing director at NYSE Euronext, when he was asked what people should do if they could not afford health insurance. “Stop being poor,” was his answer.
Callous? Crude? Mean? Not really. Kevin D. Williamson explains how the ineptly-named Affordable Care Act isn’t providing insurance for all who can’t afford it.
Appropriating a certain amount of money and labeling it “health care for the poor” is not the same thing as providing poor people with access to doctors, hospitals, and medicine. It is easy to move money from one pocket to another, which is how we manage to spend a figure approaching a half-trillion dollars per annum on Medicaid with very little to show for it in terms of better health outcomes for poor people. In Tennessee, Medicaid alone spends about $10,000 annually for every poor person in the state, and poor Tennesseans of retirement age or older already have access to Medicare.
We spend the money, but we do not get the health care.
Why not? Because there aren’t enough doctors, there are too many doctors who won’t accept Medicare, and all the subsidies and mandates in the world aren’t going to fix that. The solution? Stop being poor.