The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 requires that a hospital treat anyone in an emergency, regardless of citizenship or ability to pay and it has saved many lives since it was enacted. Governor Nathan Deal (R) of Georgia thinks that it is an onerous law which is costing way to much money and wants Congress to repeal it and just let those poor people die.
Deal, who has been vocal in his opposition to Obamacare, called for the repeal of the law at a University of Georgia political science alumni event.
“If they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care in this country, they would revisit another federal statute that has been there for a long time,” Deal said. “It came as a result of bad facts, and we have a saying that bad facts make bad law.”
At the time the law was being considered in Congress, supporters cited incidences where pregnant women were turned away because they had no insurance and were unable to pay for services. But Deal is compassionate and has a solution for this. He thinks that the law can be rewritten so that hospitals have to treat pregnant women but can still turn others away. Continuing with the law as is just costs too darn much, he says.
Of course, the real problem is that Deal is one of the governors who has refused to accept the Medicaid expansion provided for in the ACA, and this is putting pressure on many hospital emergency rooms in his state since those unable to obtain health care insurance are swamping them, particularly in rural areas, because it is the only way these people can obtain any health care.
The financial pinch his state is feeling is due to the governor’s own policies but just as he did in January when his state was paralyzed by a winter storm he is not going to accept responsibility for his actions, he is going to blame the federal government.
When winter storm Leon hit his state after several days of warnings from the National Weather Service, Deal claimed that the meteorologists there had not told him that his state was about to be hit.
Now that his refusal to expand Medicaid, at no cost to his state initially and never costing the state more than 10% of the increased costs, he wants to place the blame again on the federal government this time saying that it is because of a law that was signed in 1986 by Republican icon Ronald Reagan.
As always Deal’s solution is to just let the poor die, after all they contribute nothing of value to society.