While we’re still on Supreme Court watch, we thought we’d pass on an interesting piece from The Los Angeles Times which talks a little bit about how we got to where we are today:
Within days, the Supreme Court will rule on whether the new law is constitutional. If the law is upheld, millions of newly insured patients will have many of their hospital bills covered by insurance. But if the law, or just the insurance mandate, is struck down, those bills will be passed on to taxpayers, hospitals and privately insured patients, as they have been for the last quarter century.
The drive for a hospital mandate emerged in the 1980s out of outrage over stories like Sharon Ford’s.
Ford, who lived in a working-class suburb of Oakland, gave birth to a stillborn baby in 1985 after being turned away from two private hospitals that erroneously believed she lacked insurance. At one, she was refused admission even after a fetal monitor picked up signs that her baby’s heart was beating irregularly. By the time she made it to a public hospital, which scrambled to do an emergency caesarean section, the baby had died.
Ford’s case was not an isolated one. In Dallas, an 18-year-old man died from a severe infection after a local emergency room wouldn’t perform basic medical tests before sending him to the public hospital. In Chicago, one private hospital reportedly placed yellow stickers on the charts of patients without private insurance to avoid admitting them.
“We were seeing outrageous behavior on a daily basis,” said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of public health at the City University of New York who helped document what was called “patient dumping.”
Do you know someone who was turned away from the ER? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!
- Supreme Court Decision? What Supreme Court Decision?
- Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform) Appealed to the Supreme Court
- Supreme Court Holds Off on Healthcare Reform Challenges … For Now
- This Just In: Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Healthcare Reform Before Lower Courts
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Healthcare Reform Health Insurance Mandate; Case Still On Course for Supreme Court