Ron Johnson’s wrong — and offensive — health care attack

RON JOHNSON’S WRONG — AND OFFENSIVE — HEALTH CARE ATTACK…. It stood to reason that the Wall Street Journal op-ed page would run something scathing about the Affordable Care Act on its first anniversary, but I’d hoped the paper could do better than this nonsense.

To criticize the reform law, the WSJ turned to Sen. Ron Johnson (R), the often-confused freshman senator from Wisconsin, who argues that his adult daughter, born with a heart defect, would have died had the Affordable Care Act been in place at the time.

I don’t even want to think what might have happened if she had been born at a time and place where government defined the limits for most insurance policies and set precedents on what would be covered. Would the life-saving procedures that saved her have been deemed cost-effective by policy makers deciding where to spend increasingly scarce tax dollars?

Carey’s story sounds like a miracle, but America has always been a place where medical miracles happen.

I hesitate to even call this garbage an “argument,” since it isn’t even that. The dim-witted rookie senator isn’t actually criticizing the law so much as he’s imagining a fabricated nightmare based on nothing but his own ignorance.

Does he point to any provisions in the law — literally, anything at all — that might have prevented treatment for his ailing daughter? No, of course not. Because if he tried to address the law with some shred of intellectual seriousness, Johnson would know (a) death panels that deny care to ailing children don’t exist; (b) the law offers strong protections that protect children with pre-existing conditions; and (c) he’d have much more to worry about when it came to penny-pinching private insurers turning down procedures they don’t want to pay for.

Indeed, in Johnson’s bizarre fantasy world, does he think families in Massachusetts — where the state has had an ACA-style system for several years — are routinely denying care to children with heart defects?

As Jon Chait explained, “Indeed, one of the reasons for the law is that private health insurance often contains lifetime caps on coverage, or arbitrarily throws people who develop expensive conditions off their plans, and therefore keeps people from getting procedures like the one Johnson’s daughter received. But asking someone like him to actually take into consideration the actual needs of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance, as against the completely imaginary threat to his only family, is asking far too much of Johnson’s intellect or moral reasoning.”

Igor Volsky dug a little deeper into the WSJ piece, and concludes, “Johnson gets it wrong. The ACA wouldn’t have killed Johnson’s daughter, but thousands of other uninsured babies would have died without it.”

Honestly, Ron Johnson really ought to be ashamed of himself for peddling such twaddle. If he doesn’t know anything about health care policy — and he clearly does not — the senator should have just kept his mouth shut and wrote an op-ed about something else. Instead, he penned a piece that’s as wrong as it is offensive.