This article by Rachel Pearson in the Observer, a periodical based in Texas. The ignorant conservatives can call them moochers, but the awful truth is that we have dispossessed a large segment of Americans who are barely making a living, and cannot afford health care. For them, it is a luxury. For us, it is a shame we will face one day, and wonder what we were thinking.
There’s a popular myth that the uninsured—in Texas, that’s 25 percent of us—can always get medical care through emergency rooms. Ted Cruz has argued that it is “much cheaper to provide emergency care than it is to expand Medicaid,” and Rick Perry has claimed that Texans prefer the ER system. The myth is based on a 1986 federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which states that hospitals with emergency rooms have to accept and stabilize patients who are in labor or who have an acute medical condition that threatens life or limb. That word “stabilize” is key: Hospital ERs don’t have to treat you. They just have to patch you up to the point where you’re not actively dying. Also, hospitals charge for ER care, and usually send patients to collections when they cannot pay.