The following post was originally published at American Thinker
The liberal Supreme Court justices have demonstrated profound and shocking ignorance of the American health care system. Here's one of the most jarring examples:
"What percentage of the American people who took their son or daughter to an emergency room and that child was turned away because the parent didn't have insurance," asked Sotomayor, "... do you think there's a large percentage of the American population that would stand for the death of that child -- (who) had an allergic reaction and a simple shot would have saved the child?"
I have a precise answer for Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The percentage of American people who took their son or daughter to an emergency room and were turned away because the parent didn't have insurance is exactly zero.
No person, whether American or not, is ever turned away from an emergency room for lack of health insurance. Ever.
This simply does not happen.
1. It's illegal.
Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is a U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. Participating hospitals may only transfer or discharge patients needing emergency treatment under their own informed consent, after stabilization, or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment.
You can thank Republican President Ronald Reagan for that, for better or for worse.
As a health care provider who interacts with emergency room physicians on a daily basis, I can attest to the fact that seriously ill patients are never discharged from an emergency room in the tragic fashion that Sonia Sotomayor imagines. Even uninsured patients with minor, self-limited problems are treated better than that.
2. Morality and the patient-doctor relationship
Although this might come as a shocking revelation to liberal Democrats, most physicians understand the difference between right and wrong. No physician would turn away a child simply because the parent didn't have insurance. This is primarily because physicians, even conservative ones, are as compassionate as liberal Supreme Court justices. (And in securing scarce and enormously expensive resources for their patients in an emergency, physicians have virtually unlimited latitude.)
3. The legal risks of selfish, short-sighted decisions are enormous.
A jury would have no mercy on a physician who withheld treatment inappropriately, causing a child to die. The financial and professional consequences would be devastating.
It's disheartening to note that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as profoundly ignorant as she is, will be making a monumental decision about a 2,700 page health care law.
Read the rest at American Thinker.
Discussion at The Lonely Conservative... Note to Justice Sotomayor: Uninsured are not Turned Away from ERs. Thanks!
Libertarian Patriot: "If you believe the progressives, there are corpses stacking up everywhere..."
Liberals have suggested that I've misinterpreted Sotomayor by taking Sotomayor's comments out of context. Here's more context via Joe Conason, a liberal commentator:
Michael Carvin, the eminent attorney representing the National Federation of Independent Business, specifically rejected the notion that overturning health reform could result in denying care to the uninsured, during a crucial exchange with Justice Sonia Sotomayor."What percentage of the American people who took their son or daughter to an emergency room and that child was turned away because the parent didn't have insurance," asked Sotomayor, "... do you think there's a large percentage of the American population that would stand for the death of that child -- (who) had an allergic reaction and a simple shot would have saved the child?"In his response, Carvin scolded, "One of the more pernicious, misleading impressions that the government has made is that we are somehow advocating that people be -- could get thrown out of emergency rooms, or that this alternative that they've hypothesized is going to be enforced by throwing people out of emergency rooms."
No post-Obamacare health care system would allow (or attempt to create) anything like the absurd scenario Sotomayor described. EMTALA precludes that kind of outcome.
The entire transcript of the oral argument is here.
Update IV: Am I too charitable in giving Sotomayor the benefit of the doubt by calling her ignorant?
Keith Wetzel: "Is she truly that ignorant? Or is she appealing to the ignorance of others?"