The End of Emergency Care As We Know It?

| Fri Jul. 14, 2006 8:10 PM EDT

Billmon has an excellent (if extremely dire) post about Israel, Lebanon, and Gaza up on his site, but I'd also encourage people to read this one speculating on the coming health care crisis. Basically, the health care industry is doing very poorly on the financial front these days. That's partly because, thanks to the rising cost of health care, people are avoiding getting treatment altogether, and partly because the rising ranks of the uninsured are usually forced to seek emergency care at hospitals as a last resort when they get sick—and then can't pay for it. Those two trends spell bad news for the industry.

Eventually, of course, health care corporations are going to start lobbying Congress to do something about this. And since "doing something" probably won't entail actually fixing health care in this country, it might mean that Congress will come under pressure to repeal those laws that require hospitals to take in anyone seeking emergency care, even if the patient can't pay for it. Perhaps we'll return back to the good old days when poor patients were left to die in parking lots. Who knows, but it's a situation very much worth keeping an eye on.

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