Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)
"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "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."
See, you're not uninsured. You merely have an alternative means of payment! Never mind that debt collectors will hound you to your grave even if the government picks up the dime for hospitals that provide care for those who visit their emergency rooms, and NOBODY visits the emergency room for treatable but minor conditions that can worsen over time. With the flip of a magic wand, the health care crisis in this country is solved! Believe it or not, the total number of Americans without without insurance has declined, but only because more Americans have moved onto the Medicaid and Medicare rolls. Which actually, is a start.
UPDATE: I failed to note that Goodman has served as an adviser to the McCain campaign on the issue of health care. The McCain campaign is distancing from Goodman's statement (something that seems to happens a lot around those parts) though as Jonathan Cohn explains, McCain's approach on health care is still notably unserious.