August 28th, 2008
01:09 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain adviser: Everyone in U.S. has some health coverage

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A McCain adviser speaks out on the uninsured."]

(CNN) - A health care policy adviser for the McCain campaign told a newspaper reporter that nobody in the United States is technically uninsured, because everyone has access to hospital emergency rooms.

"So I have a solution [to the health care crisis]. And it will cost not one thin dime," John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, told the Dallas Morning News in an interview published Thursday.

"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."

Hospital emergency rooms cannot technically turn away anyone for financial reasons.

"So instead of producing worthless statistics that people fling around in vacuous editorials and pointless debates, the Census Bureau should produce meaningful numbers, identifying all of the sources of funds people will draw on if they need medical care," said Goodman, who helped write McCain’s health care plan.

That plan would use a combination of tax incentives and market competition to make health care more affordable. It is not a universal health care plan – it does not guarantee insurance coverage for every American.

Read more: Goodman talks to the Dallas Morning News

Take a look: Candidates' health care plans

UPDATE: McCain's campaign says they do not consider Goodman to be an official campaign adviser.

Filed under: Healthcare • John McCain
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Toni - Atlanta

    Sounds like another Phil Gramm to me - mental recession, and now the ER!! Lord, have mercy!!!!

    August 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |


    August 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Jeronimo!


    August 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Sherry, Atlanta


    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12


    August 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. No McBush, No Way

    McBush's strategy is to have everyone run to the E.R. for every little issue? That sounds like a great way to keep healthcare costs low.

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    This should be a front page story afor every news organization. Does everyone realize how disgusting this comment is? Am I overreacting?

    Poor people should just go to the ER for routine healthcare? And keep going back and never paying? Is that the idea?

    Is this the John Goodman that was in The Big Lebowski and Roseanne?

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. jam

    So in republican terms there's no such thing as a problem, there are only emergencies?

    This is the first time I've ever known a politician to actually openly suggest solving a problem by changing the dictionary rather than just cynically doing it without people noticing. That said, "uninsured" literally means not having insurance so no matter how you cut it these people are uninsured. They simply have access to basic emergency care, even though they can't afford it.

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. mimi

    this is crazyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Linus

    This is the Republican strategy - redefine the issue. So, instantly, no one is uninsured any more. The problem is gone. Sounds a lot like Nixon defining catsup as a vegetable, doesn't it?

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Michael

    Thank you, John Goodman, for killing John McSame's presidential bid for us. I've got a couple of questions for you, are the emergency rooms going to pay for prescription drugs? Are they going to just forget the cost of treating people who arrive in the emergency rooms. McSame is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo out of touch with America, it makes me sick to think anyone would ever consider voting for him.

    August 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Sandy

    What kind of crap is that! Yes we can all go the ER but what good does it do if they only put a band aid on the problem to come back later with a bigger problem. Health Insurance is supposed be a help and offset the cost, but because the price of health care has risen so much many families can't afford it, so in the meantime families go in debt just to make a visit to the ER.

    August 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. sue

    It's not free healthcare johnny2.

    The hospital emergency room cannot legally turn you away because you cannot pay.

    There are still medical bills to be paid from the visit and the person who goes to the emergency room is still stuck with the medical bills if they have no insurance – whether they have the money to pay or not.

    August 28, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Al

    ...Awesome, so if I don't have health coverage, all I have to do is wait in an ER for 5 hours with other people, and get charged a $500 bill for a worthless exam, while the entire system continues to get overtaxed, when if I had some sort of real coverage, I could go see a doctor at a practice and leave the ER for what it's for.

    Wait for it...

    Hold on...


    Dear God in heaven, and to release this on the DAY that Obama is to give his speech. He wants to wrap up the former Hillary supporters, I mean...McCain and his campaign is just handing this election to Obama.

    This is why he will win...because Obama just has a better campaign, and will have a much better ground game in the fall.

    August 28, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Brian

    Wow, "market competition." Right, McCain. We've had eight years of "market competition"-driven health care and look where we are now. You are an idiot, and your advisers are complete tools.


    August 28, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Cmmntr

    I am speechless! How can any idiot make such a ridiculous claim? Sure the uninsured can go to emergency rooms and get treated (or die while they are waiting their turn). This is why emergency rooms and trauma centers are so desperately overcrowded and why some hospitals are doing away with them completely. But there is still a big fat bill that comes to those persons who usually are unable to pay so it ends up a collection item on their credit report. Recently I was helping my son find an apartment and the rental agent actually said they don’t look at medical bill collections because “everybody has those.” Truly if there is a hell this man deserves to burn in it and if John McCain listens to people like him he belongs there too.

    August 28, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Sue

    Isn't this Republican! Just change the number, or change the word, and the viola', the problem is gone. That is how they plan on running the country wirh McSlime! It does not matter what the facts are, just change them to suit your needs! God, how revolting!

    August 28, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. PUMA moving on...

    Wow... now that is leadership I cannot believe in. It simply amazes me that every child in the country gets access to a general education, but we do nothing to ensure their health?

    This is the very reason why the democrats must take back our government. Though I would like to see Pelosi removed as House Speaker....

    August 28, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Steve

    This is magnificent.

    The Demos should make sure that this Goodman creature is a household name by Election Day.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. obamaton

    It's true, no matter how much the Obamatons howl herein. You can show up, get treated and the taxpayers pay the bill.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. The Bush Twins : George and John

    I would love to write a com ment on this but, I, I can't stop laughing over th this re diculous idea.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. BuffaloBill

    My younger brother, at age 18, spent one night in the emergency room and it cost him $20,000. All because our Mom was in between jobs and we had no insurance. Now, he'll spend his 20s paying off this tab instead of saving for a down payment on a house.

    This is just one of the many reasons why we're in an economic crisis–we have Republicans saying emergency room = health care.

    Why does everyone buy Toyota and Volkswagen? For one thing, their unions don't have to fight tooth and nail for health coverage from their employers.

    Universal Health care will make Americans more entrepreneurial (no more chaining yourself to a job you hate just for the benefits) and more competitive worldwide.

    Oh, and then there's the issue of a new generation of Americans not graduating with staggering student loan debt (and in the case of my brother, medical bills) who can then step up and buy homes, start businesses, and pick up where retirees leave off.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Tyler

    But emergency room care is expensive. If patients who can't afford insurance had access to check-ups and preventive medicine, think of how much money would be saved.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Douglas from Minnesota

    What an idiot! Sound like the old military mentality "there's no problem because I order-it that there's no problem!" Yes, ignoramuses like this do, unfortunately, exist.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Enlightened Voter

    johnny2 in kalamazo, Vickie and Michael, Do you guys even have a conscience?

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Mike

    WOW.....This shows a complete lack of understanding of the problem. If you don't have insurance, any significant emergency room care will cost an individual huge amounts of money. McCain is completely out of tough with the majority of the populace of his own country! People cannot afford medical treatment, even for life threatening situations.

    August 28, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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