Calling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA; popularly referred to as Obamacare) an act of Socialism has been a favorite activity of Republicans since its creation a couple of years ago. While the piece of the act that includes the mandate for individuals to carry health insurance is still working its way through the court system to determine whether it is Constitutional, GOP talking heads like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann consistently agree that the PPACA is a “social scheme” and “the crown jewel of socialism.”
Ohio Capital Blog recently posted video of a protest against the PPACA by a spirited non-partisan group outfitted with bagpipes. According to their website, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property “is an organization of lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization.” The site claims that they have over 120,000 active members, volunteers and donors. Here’s a segment of the Ohio Capital Blog video:
But while reading some recent information about the PPACA, I stumbled across an amazing piece of legislation that just SCREAMS socialism and I simply can’t believe that the GOP is not up-in-arms about it.
I stumbled upon something called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. It’s quite amazing. Upon being enacted, here are some features of this act heavy on social welfare and equality:
Under EMTALA, hospitals have three obligations:
- Individuals requesting emergency care, or those for whom a representative has made a request if the patient is unable, must receive a medical screening examination to determine whether an emergency medical condition (EMC) exists. The participating hospital cannot delay examination and treatment to inquire about methods of payment or insurance coverage, or a patient’s citizenship or legal status. The hospital may only start the process of payment inquiry and billing once they have stabilized the patient to a degree that the process will not interfere with or otherwise compromise patient care.
- The emergency room (or other better equipped units within the hospital) must treat an individual with an EMC until the condition is resolved or stabilized and the patient is able to provide self-care following discharge, or if unable, can receive needed continual care. Inpatient care provided must be at an equal level for all patients, regardless of ability to pay. Hospitals may not discharge a patient prior to stabilization if the patient’s insurance is canceled or otherwise discontinues payment during course of stay.
- If the hospital does not have the capability to treat the condition, the hospital must make an “appropriate” transfer of the patient to another hospital with such capability. This includes a long-term care or rehabilitation facilities for patients unable to provide self-care. Hospitals with specialized capabilities must accept such transfers and may not discharge a patient until the condition is resolved and the patient is able to provide self-care or is transferred to another facility.
Emergency rooms cannot turn away a patient regardless of questions about the individual’s ability to pay or citizenship status, and may not subsequently discharge an unstable patient if an inability to pay for coverage is determined. In short, if you don’t have health insurance, the hospital must eat the cost — free healthcare! That’s a type of socialism.
Want more? Try these social welfare components:
- All patients have EMTALA rights equally, regardless of age, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, residence, citizenship, or legal status. If patient’s status is found to be illegal, hospitals may not discharge a patient prior to completion of care, though law enforcement and hospital security may take necessary action to prevent a patient from escaping or harming others.
- Hospitals are required to sufficiently feed patients unable to pay at a level equal to those able to pay, while meeting all physician-ordered dietary restrictions.
- Overloaded hospitals may not discharge a patient unable to pay to make room for a patient who is able to pay.
- A hospital may be held liable to an injured person in a civil action for damages under the statute, with no maximum on the liability. Unlike a number of other Federal statutes enabling a civil remedy, there is no provision for an award of attorneys’ fees to a successful plaintiff. EMTALA does not take the place of or limit any malpractice claim under State law. Instead, it offers another way for a plaintiff to make a claim for damages, another avenue in addition to claims under State law, and a way to get his claim heard in Federal court if he wishes to do so.
- A pregnant woman who presents in active labor must, for all practical purposes, be admitted and treated until delivery is completed, unless a transfer under the statute is appropriate. The statute explicitly provides that this must include delivery of the placenta.
What are the penalties for violating EMTALA?
There is a 2-year statute of limitations for civil enforcement of any violation. Penalties may include:
- Termination of the hospital or physician’s Medicare provider agreement.
- Hospital fines up to $50,000 per violation ($25,000 for a hospital with fewer than 100 beds).
- Physician fines $50,000 per violation, including on-call physicians.
- The hospital may be sued for personal injury in civil court under a “private cause of action”
- A receiving facility, having suffered financial loss as a result of another hospital’s violation of EMTALA, can bring suit to recover damages.
Providing free health care to everyone who shows up in an Emergency Room is tantamount to social welfare and must be considered a form of socialism. Subsidizing the costs of these health services will simply spread out the costs across all Americans through the increased cost of healthcare and taxes for Medicare.
Again I ask — why isn’t the GOP going apeshit?
Because the EMTALA was signed into law by the renowned socialist, Ronald Reagan, in 1986.
The law received a great deal of bipartisan support too. Perhaps you’ll recognize the names of some of the members of Congress who approved this law and sent it to Reagan’s desk:
- Bentsen, Lloyd
- Biden, Joseph
- Dole, Robert
- Glenn, John
- Goldwater, Barry
- Gore, Albert
- Kennedy, Edward
- Quayle, J. Danforth (Dan)
- Armey, Richard (Dick)
- Lott, Chester (Trent)
But of course no list wouldn’t be complete without these infamous socialists who also supported this Act:
- McCain, John
- Cheney, Richard (Dick)
- Gingrich, Newton (Newt)
- Kasich, John
So it seems as though the Republicans have invented a new political party: the Selective Socialism Party.
Either that or President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn’t socialism after all.