When I was a lad -
There were for profit hospitals, often owned by doctors.
There were fraternal hospitals, maintained for association members.
There were company hospitals, like the SP hospital in Frisco, for employees.
There were religious charity hospitals
And there were the County hospitals, often called pest houses, for the indigents.
While it may have happened, I never heard of anyone being denied immediate medical assistance because he could not pay.
Then things changed -
After the war, both the capabilities and expectations of medicine were raised. The cost of supplying the greater capabilities was borne by employers, Medicare and like programs, but, to catch the ones missed by other programs, laws required facilities to admit anyone, irrespective of ability to pay. Facilities had to pay the costs of that treatment by surcharges on funded treatment.
MY MODEST PROPOSAL
The admit all policy would continue as today, but the cost of their treatment, plus a reasonable profit and overhead, would be paid by State and/or Federal government. Taxing agencies would then examine the income and assets of the patient to determine ability to pay, and collect payment from those capable by a surcharge on income and a levy on assets. No new agencies would be required and the level of care would be maintained. The only losers would be the free loaders and those lusting after employment in a new, sure to grow agency.
Walter E. Wallis
This story contains 244 words.
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