Media Blog

Richard Cohen Attacks the ER

Cohen tells of ER horror he experienced in today’s Washington Post (emphasis mine):

The emergency room has become the equivalent of the family doctor. It is where you go if you don’t have a family doctor or if you do have a family doctor — and it’s after hours or the weekend. It is also where you sometimes have to go in order to be admitted to a hospital. The staff is mostly courteous, sometimes wonderfully solicitous, but the constant triaging of new people can put you on a treadmill to nowhere. The emergency room is the great leveler of American life. Everyone gets miserable treatment.

[. . .]

The ongoing health-care debate is complex — not as interesting as Michael Jackson or Sarah Palin. But in deciding what to do and who to support in the current attempt to reform health care, don’t rely on insurance industry propaganda, but on your own experience. Recall the last time you went to the emergency room and ask yourself whether the government could possibly do a worse job. If the answer is yes, you might need medical attention more than you realize.

I guess sign me up for some of that medical attention, because the last three trips I’ve had to the ER over the past 18 months have been nothing but pleasurable. Two visits were for my infant daughter, the other for my 82 year old father.

My first trip with my daughter involved an ear infection while on vacation visiting relatives in Tampa.  We were the only people in the ER at the time (Sunday morning) and it took longer to have someone type in our information into their computer system than it did to have a doctor look at her ears and write us a prescription for an antibiotic.

The second trip was a little scarier for our daughter and was to the ER at St. Luke’s Roosevelt here in NYC. Again, no wait. We were in a bed in the ER for six hours, but that was only because they were deciding whether or not to admit her, which they finally did. You do hear a lot of stories, however, while in the ER for so long. Like the mother who had brought her two uninsured kids in for an overnight asthma treatment. When they were done, the doctor tried to get her to meet with the hospital social worker to get the kids on a free health plan. The mother refused and said, “I don’t have time. I have to go help my mother buy a cell phone.” Maybe if Richard Cohen were there, he could have convinced this mother to stop using the ER has her primary-care physician and take advantage of free health insurance, because the staff at St. Luke’s had no luck.

And the third time was for my father, who passed out while visiting us. Again, off to St. Luke’s Roosevelt where the care was fantastic. We were in a bed next to two drunk women who were handcuffed to their stretchers, but that actually added a degree of levity to the situation as we weren’t quite sure if my father had had a stroke or heart attack (he actually just fainted, it turned out.)  My father was nice enough to let the arrested women borrow his cell phone.

I don’t doubt there are problems in America’s ERs, but let’s get honest about the level of care that would occur in a socialized system. For a real look at Richard Cohen’s socialized nirvana, Pajamas TV reporter Steven Crowder went undercover to investigate Canada’s system.  Here’s the revealing video and summary from Hot Air:

The big lesson from Steven Crowder’s undercover look at the single-payer health-care system in Canada? “Don’t get sick on Sunday.” Actually, we can probably narrow that to, “Don’t get sick,” because Steven demonstrates that the only thing reliably covered in CanadaCare is the bill. Long waits and service rationing are the norm, as his PJTV episode shows:

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