The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today lambasted McCain health policy advisor John Goodman’s assertion that anyone with access to an emergency department effectively has health insurance, and called his logic flawed and his statement irresponsible toward all patients, insured and uninsured alike.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report showed visits to emergency departments climbed 32 percent over a ten-year period, and there is no sign that this trend is slowing,” said Dr. Linda Lawrence, president of ACEP. “Emergency departments are the nation’s health care safety net, but that net is breaking under the load, in part because so much of the care goes uncompensated. To suggest that there are no uninsured patients is to cast a blind eye toward the needs of all emergency patients, insured or not, who are waiting longer and longer for care, sometimes with deadly consequences.”
“We urge the McCain campaign to rethink the reckless suggestion by Mr. Goodman that the tragedy of uninsured patients can be erased by the magic of emergency departments,” said Dr. Lawrence. “Emergency physicians can and do perform miracles every day, but taking on the full-time, medical care for 46 million uninsured Americans is one miracle even we cannot perform. Access to care in the emergency department is no substitute for the comprehensive health care reform policy that should be at the heart of the platform of any presidential campaign.”
ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with more than 26,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.