The incessant coverage of the Supreme Court oral arguments about the affordable healthcare law have been fascinating, even without the broccoli fetish. But it has been really annoying when interviewers and reporters talk about the "fact" that the uninsured are going to use these services and not pay for them (therefore insurance companies/the law/lots of people want everyone to pay in to the system, which I think is a fine idea, by the way). They always just gloss over that part about how "the uninsured are going to go to the emergency room and receive care." Well, yes, anyone who is in an emergency will have their condition stabilized; the paramedics at the car accident aren't going to watch you bleed to death or refuse to pry you from the car until you show your health insurance card. But the talking heads keep talking as if that's the end of the story. Have you people ever been to an emergency room, or doctor's office for that matter? You still get billed for the services. It's not like the uninsured just waltz in with their broken leg or ruptured spleen or whatever and get in the Uninsured-So-I'm-Not-Paying line. What planet do these people live on that they don't think uninsured get billed for services rendered? Besides, insured people get billed, too. The most recent health insurance I had in the U.S. was so laughably far from covering things at 100% that of course I got billed after the fact.
The inaccurate, incomplete way people have been talking about getting free healthcare when you are uninsured is a fantasy! I know - because I'm uninsured right now, having returned from my job in Korea (fabulous cheap health care!) and not yet able to cough up the $500/month the companies want to insure a single freelancer. I would love to have some free health care just by showing up at a hospital! I wish!