The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and later shorted to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and commonly referred to as ObamaCare professed to provide universal coverage for all Americans. Unfortunately even with legal and financial mandates, there are still a tremendous number of uninsured Americans. This number does not include the number of Americans that are covered by Medicaid and other health plans that often pay amounts that are underneath the average cost of the care provided. Also it doesn’t address the patients that are sold plans with high deductibles that they can not afford to pay.
The United States government reports state that 12.7M people signed up for coverage in 2016 which is up from 11.7M in 2015. This leaves the nationwide uninsured rate at about 9% which means about 30M are still uninsured. About 10% are ineligible because they live in a state that didn’t expand Medicaid, 15% have an issue with immigration status but well over 50% simply didn’t sign up.
This article hypothesizes that part of the issue may be that the coverage is still not affordable enough. There is still a federal mandate called EMTALA (The Emergency Medicine Treatment and Labor Act) that requires hospital emergency departments to see and treat all patients without regard to their insurance but does not ensure that they will receive adequate or any payment for their services. Also, many patients who think they are ensured, only learn after they are sick or hurt that they still how high deductible amounts. It is time to relook at the moral and legal aspects of this practice and if nothing else ensure that emergency departments have adequate resources and that the providers that practice in these environments are treated fairly. It will be interesting to see how the Presidential candidates approach this issue as their campaigns intensify.