Hillary’s Healthcare Fairy Tale

Senator Clinton has been telling a nice story during her campaign about a woman who was pregnant, who didn’t have health care, was denied service at a hospital, her fetus was still born and the woman ultimately died of complications. Only one little problem, it is not true. Yes the woman was pregnant. Yes, her fetus was stillborn, and yes she died of complications, but she was under treatment and she was not turned away due to a lack of insurance.

This is a favorite little story that many who advocate universal health care love to tell. The only problem is that hospitals can’t do this, by law. A hospital is required to treat anyone who comes in regardless of ability to pay. Please take note of this if you favor some sort of universal health care. If you try to use this kind of story as an example of why private health care is a failure you’ll only look like an idiot to those who are aware of the facts. Oh, and in the U.S. we don’t have “private healthcare” but a mixed private/public healthcare system….like France.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Economics and Business, Health, US Politics, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Steve,
    You’re a bit late picking up on this story, it’s already been thoroughly run through over at TPM, concluding that the story is at least partially true, though wrong on many of the details.

  2. Anderson says:

    A hospital is required to treat anyone who comes in regardless of ability to pay.

    In emergencies, that is. (The alleged story would fit that of course.)

  3. Grewgills says:

    If proper pre-natal care was available to her, how much could have been saved in later ER care?

  4. Michael says:

    If proper pre-natal care was available to her, how much could have been saved in later ER care?

    Depends on whether the nature of her problems was due to poor pre-natal care, there are so many other factors that are in play that it’s hard to draw a direct lineage of cause and effect.

  5. KJ says:

    It’s an election year. Never let facts, truth and honesty get in the way of a good story. Sometimes you get away with it.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Oh, and in the U.S. we don’t have “private healthcare” but a mixed private/public healthcare system….like France.

    The mix is a little different. That’s something I’ve been commenting on for years about the healthcare debate. The debate isn’t about a free market in healthcare vs. a full socialized system. The debate is about whether we should have a system in which 60% of healthcare is funded by tax dollars (our current system) or 90% is funded by tax dollars (the French system).