Dying for Socialized Medicine?
Never Let the Law or the Facts Get in the Way of Scaring Voters
By Mark I Posted in 2008 — Comments (73) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The famously disciplined candidate Senator Hillary!™ Clinton committed a rare gaffe today during the rollout of her much anticipated and ballyhooed health care initiative.
”Here in America people are dying because they couldn't get the care they needed when they were sick.
"I'm here today because I believe it is long past time that this nation had an answer," Clinton said. "I believe America is ready for change. [my emphasis]
Really? People are dying while waiting to receive health care? Doesn’t the Senator know that there is a Federal law requiring stabilizing treatment for anybody presenting at a hospital regardless of their ability to pay?
“People are dying…,” is a very careless statement for a presidential candidate to make. First of all, it’s demonstrably false. Second, it takes the focus off the candidate’s initiative and puts it on the claim. Clinton doesn’t usually give her opponents this kind of opening.
The Federal law is called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and was passed by Congress in 1986. The American Academy of Emergency Medicine characterizes the law’s requirements this way:
EMTALA requires hospital emergency departments to provide any individual coming to their premises with a medical screening exam to determine if an emergency condition or active pregnancy labor is present. If so, the hospital must supply either stabilization prior to transferring the patient or a certification (signed by the physician) that the transfer is appropriate and meets certain conditions
The law covers everyone, whether or not they are Medicaid eligible. It also covers all hospitals that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid systems. That’s nearly every hospital. That means that no one dies while waiting to receive health care because of their ability to pay. If a hospital denies treatment due to payment issues, it risks losing its Joint Commission accreditation. The inability to provide emergency care to all was a major issue in the closing of Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles, just last month. Could Sen. Clinton really be unaware of this?
Certainly not. Clinton wants voters to focus on the emotions evoked by her image of emergency rooms filled with poor, dying patients. No such thing exists; at least not in this country. She then wants you to give up your ability to choose your doctor and the kind of care you receive, for the false “security” of the government paying the bill. What’s that Benjamin Franklin quotation the liberals are so fond of trotting out about the war?
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
It’s a bad trade.
If Sen. Clinton is so concerned about patients dying while waiting for care, perhaps she should propose to reform the health systems in Canada and Britain. Those countries have government run health care systems and, surprise, they have rationing and built in wait times. People really are dying while waiting for the government to care for them in those countries, not in the United States.
This is a major slip up for the vaunted Clinton message machine. This country is going to have a conversation about health care, and Sen. Clinton has poisoned the debate against her position by this descent into hyperbole. If there is a solid case to be made for universal health care in the United States, she should make it. The fact that Sen. Clinton has chosen to utilize hyperbole and appeal to emotion instead of marshalling the facts demonstrates that she has no real arguments to make.