Delaware Public Media

Americans overwhelmingly support insurance coverage for emergency care

Mar 19, 2017

95 percent of Americans say emergency care should be covered in a health insurance plan, according to a new poll commissioned by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).  

 


ACEP has not taken a stance on either the Affordable Care Act or the GOP replacement plan, but it continues to fight for insurance coverage of emergency care. 

Hirshon said people shouldn’t have to worry about their insurance coverage if they think they’re having a medical emergency.

"I always say to patients, ‘I’d rather you come in five times and I can reassure you you don’t have a life threatening problem, than to miss the one time that you do,” he said.   

Emergency physicians are currently wondering what will happen if insurance becomes unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Before the Affordable Care Act, people without insurance used the emergency room for all their healthcare needs.

 

That’s because federal law guarantees no one will be turned away from an emergency room whether they can pay or not.

“Essentially this is an unfunded mandate,” said Jon Mark Hirshon, a physician and a board member for (ACEP).

 

Obamacare eased the financial strain of this "unfunded mandate" by insuring millions of Americans and making emergency coverage a minimum requirement in plans on the ACA marketplace. 

 

But it didn't decrease the number of visits to the ER. In fact, ER visits have increased since passage of Obamacare, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

 

A recent Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republican health care plan estimates that 24 million fewer Americans will have insurance in a decade, and these millions of uninsured people could turn to the emergency room for health care like they did in the past, leaving hospitals to pick up the tab.