Certain provisions of the Obama health care plan took effect recently. The rest of the plan is supposed to take effect in 2014, that is unless the Republicans take control of the Congress and White House in 2012 and repeal it.
I’ve heard a lot of political pundits as well as George Bush say that health care is already available to everyone in the United States, all you have to do is go to the emergency room.
A large number of people without health insurance do go to the emergency room. Just go to an urban hospital on any weekend after midnight. The emergency room is packed and the average wait to see a doctor is about four hours or more.
But the important thing that the politicians and pundits don’t tell you is that the emergency room is for emergency treatment only. You will be stabilized and then put out on the street. If you don’t have health insurance, you will not be admitted to the hospital. This is the law.
My uncle Bob suffered a heart attack when he was in his mid-fifties. He was a self-employed mechanic all of his life and didn’t feel he needed to buy health insurance that he couldn’t afford. He just went to the emergency room if he got sick.
They stabilized him and gave him some nitroglycerin pills to take home. They could have saved him with a bypass, but didn’t admit him because of lack of insurance. He went back home and had two more heart attacks. The last one was fatal.
According to CNN: “Unfortunately (going to the ER for acute care) is a reality for a significant swath of the American people, and the problem continues to worsen. A report in the September issue of Health Affairs points out that less than half of the 345 million annual visits for acute-care problems take place with a patient’s personal physician.”
So the emergency rooms are filled with cases that aren’t emergencies. The last time I was there a woman was complaining about a toothache. She had come to the emergency room because she couldn’t afford a dentist. They gave her pain pills and released her. She probably hasn’t seen a dentist yet.
Since the Republicans couldn’t stop the health care reform bill they are now trying to chip away at it. His is not jut an opinion, but fact. The bottom line is that the emergency room is no place to get your health care.