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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mrs. Clinton Lying About Health Care

A pregnant woman and her unborn child died after being refused treatment at an Ohio hospital having been turned away because she was unable to pay. The account of the incident, as repeatedly told by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, goes on to say that the hospital demanded $100 payment “up front” when she told them that she was uninsured. After being refused treatment she later retuned to the hospital by ambulance and subsequently died after delivering a stillborn infant.

Mrs. Clinton has repeated this story many times at rallies when making her case for universal health care. The problem is, it is not true. Mrs. Clinton, beginning with her husband’s first term as president has claimed to be an expert on the American health care system and especially its many faults and failings. She and her advisors proposed radical and sweeping changes that were soundly rejected in 1993. She is back again promising even bigger and better plans for “free” health care for all.

With all her professed expertise it is hard to understand how it is that she doesn’t understand the laws that prevent just such an incident as related above from happening. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed by Congress in 1986 as part of Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and it requires hospitals and emergency services to provide emergency care to any person in need regardless of ability to pay, citizenship, or any other reason. Patients cannot be discharged except with their consent and only when the condition has been stabilized or when the patient is tranferred to another facility better equipped to handle the emergency. A transfer requires that, first the hospital must do all that they can to stabilize the patient’s condition and then the attending physician (usually the ER doc) must contact the doctor at the facility to which the patient is to be transferred and provide a thorough report of the patient’s condition and the doctor at the receiving hospital has to accept the patient and agree to provide the appropriate care. All of this has to be thoroughly documented and all records have to accompany the patient to the receiving hospital. Any failure to comply with EMTALA regulations can result in very stiff fines to the hospital and possible loss of certification and disqualification from caring for and billing for Medicare and Medicaid patients in the future (this would result in financial ruin).

If Mrs. Clinton is ignorant of this situation, which is hard to believe, then she most certainly is ignorant of many other aspects of medical care in the U.S. and is not qualified to propose a plan to overhaul a system that she clearly doesn’t understand. The alternative consideration, which is much more likely, is that she knowingly relates a story that she knows to be false for the purpose of advancing her political ambitions by portraying American doctors and hospitals as heartless beasts that care only about money. Emotionally aroused, her listeners eagerly buy into her plan to let Government take over so that all Americans can then have “free health care.” Well, if you like going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for new plates or calling the IRS for information about deductions, you are going to love Government Health Care. In any event, don’t voters deserve an honest discussion of the issues before making a decision? An emotional appeal based on lies is not the way to solve the very serious problems that exist in American health care.


GrannyGrump said...

It'd be nice to know, so we could address it, why the woman and her baby died.

It's also be nice if Ms. Clinton recognized these women, whose needless deaths her friends sweep under the rug.

Anonymous said...

The hospital has declined to provide details of Trina Bachtel's death citing concerns about patient privacy. They do say that she was never refused treatment and that she was under the care of obstetricians affiliated with the hospital at the time of her miscarriage and subsequent death.

Your point about the deaths of other women never mentioned by Clinton and her supporters is well-taken, grannygrump.

Carrie K. Hutchens said...

If Hillary can't get the details correct on something so simple to verify, how can we trust her to handle complex matters?

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