I don’t mean Rivera “invented the problem of The Homeless(tm)” — which is another thing entirely, amply chronicled by James Taranto.
No, I mean that Geraldo Rivera and his hero, Senator Robert Kennedy, literally put millions of sick people on the streets to harass, molest (and in some cases, murder) innocent taxpayers, freeze to death, make showboating con-men famous, and smell bad.
I’m old enough to know this story by heart, but for you Young People Today, travel back in time with me (cue music):
About 80 percent of all the asylums in the country were closed down between 1955 and 1985, which left about 400,000 patients without care. The answer is sleeping on the park bench of every city you go to: We now call these people “the homeless.” This is why about 40 percent [sic?] of the homeless are people with mental illnesses.
The backlash against asylums started in the 1960s, [me: which, I’ll remind my liberal friends, was almost 15 years before the evil Ronald Reagan got elected President] when the government A) realized it was expensive to run group homes, and B) the world found out about a hellhole called Willowbrook.
Geraldo Rivera did an expose that showed patients rocking themselves on the floor, naked and surrounded by their own poop and pee. Naturally, the whole country freaked out that our most vulnerable children were being treated this way, especially after we found out that doctors intentionally gave the kids hepatitis to study its effects. So, yeah, Willowbrook was really bad.
So, the good news was that a really evil place was shut down. The bad news was that people kind of got the impression that all asylums were as bad as Willowbrook, and they had no problem shutting down other group homes as well. The other bad news was that it turned out most families weren’t all that interested in a lifetime of caring for their mentally ill, and those former patients usually ended up on the streets…
Sadly, at this point in American history, it’s left to
Rush Limbaugh National Review John Stossel Cracked ****ing magazine to simply, briefly and accurately explain how insurance companies really work, and how you therefore need to shut the **** up…
The thing that we really want insurance companies to do — pay for everything every deserving sick person needs, ever — is physically impossible.
Transport yourself to an alternate dimension where every insurance company employee is 100 percent honest and 100 percent compassionate. We’re talking a company whose cubicles and board of directors are both full of Mother Theresa.
By the sheer, mathematical realities of the insurance industry, they will still find themselves denying claims to poor people who badly need care.
This is why during that health care debate, the opposing sides were both able to cite coverage-denial horror stories from every single system on Earth. Horror stories will always be part of the equation. It’s as simple as this: We want insurance companies to say money is no object when providing coverage, but we don’t say the same when paying premiums. That creates a gap into which sick people fall and die.