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Dick Morris Says Those Without Health Insurance Don’t Want It

Reported by Ellen - September 19, 2007 -

Hannity & Colmes continued their “Republicans only” streak for those discussing Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal. Monday night, it was Newt Gingrich as the lone guest. Last night (9/18/07), it was Dick Morris. Once again, Morris was disingenuously introduced as “former Clinton advisor.” Alan Colmes didn’t even get to the topic; he spent his time with Morris discussing the all-important issue of the student who got tasered at John Kerry’s speech. That left Morris and Sean Hannity, only, offering their viewpoints last night. So when out-of-touch Morris made it sound as though the only people without health insurance are wealthy people who don’t want it, nobody disputed it. With video.

Morris dubiously claimed that Clinton’s health plan would charge healthy people more in order to charge sick people less. Of the approximately 50 million Americans who are uninsured, he said, “Their median income per capita is higher than that of the American public. These are not poor people. Poor people are covered by Medicaid. Old people by Medicare. These are for the most part young, single people who don’t want health insurance and haven’t bought it because they don’t want it.”

In reality, while those without health insurance may not be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, they are hardly rich. As the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported in August, 2006, lack of insurance is much more common among lower income people. (P. 2) And as a September, 2007 report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured noted, “In contrast to children, however, public coverage is not generally available to adults, even at low incomes. As a result, nearly half the growth in uninsured adults was among those with incomes below 200% of poverty.(P. 6) …Because public coverage is not typically available for adults, the loss of employer-sponsored coverage translated to a corresponding increase in their uninsured rate.” (P.7)

Nobody even mentioned the many people who cannot get health insurance at any price because of pre-existing conditions. Just ask a cancer survivor or anyone with heart-disease who buys their own coverage what their dollars can purchase.

Morris continued, “What Hillary’s going to do is to require (those who supposedly don’t want insurance) to buy it as a precondition of employment, require them to spend the money and then raise all of the rest of our premiums because she’s unwilling to have the risk be evened out.”

In fact, as Media Matters noted, this was a false talking point featured on Drudge. A September 18, 2007 AP article reported, Clinton "said she could envision a day when 'you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview -- like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,' but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress."

It wasn’t until the end that Colmes pointed out, “the more people that have health care, the less everybody pays for health care because more people are insured. There’s preventative medicine that takes place. So it’s better for everybody.”

“Well, yeah, in the long run,” Morris grudgingly agreed, from his ivory tower at FOX News.