Battlepanda: Let them use the Emergency Room


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Let them use the Emergency Room

Kate Steadman is floored by the ignorance:
Today I attended a lunch for society ladies. I always get pretty interesting stories when I tell society people about wanting to work in health policy, and this meal was no exception.

The current display of ignorance was on the subject of being uninsured. The woman I talked with didn't really understand what it meant to be uninsured until her housekeeper had a health problem and couldn't get seen by a doctor.

She turned to me, "Did you know that if you're uninsured the hospital and doctors won't see you? Isn't that unbelievable? I had no idea! I just thought they'd see you!"

I responded, yes I knew that. Hospitals and doctors are only required to see you if you are in immediate danger of dying or giving birth. And even then they're allowed to bill you for the services you used. There are 46 million people in this country without health insurance, and that's how hard it is for them to get care.

It's always easy to remain in ignorance when it is somebody else's suffering. Those who are readers of this blog from way back would remember the Republican Yarn Lady. When we got to talking about health care, she was convinced that the state healthcare system was enough (she is right, of course, in that Mitt Romney has done good work promoting healthcare in Massachusetts). Meanwhile, another Republican Yarn Lady who was in the store at the time pointed to low-cost evening clinics and charity-subsidized women's health center in town as good healthcare choices filling the gap. She doesn't seem to realize that the only reason those places exist is because lack of general care for the uninsured, and that they are probably only available because Amherst is such a bleeding heart liberal town, and that they are woefully inadequate if anything serious goes wrong.