quote from Forbes written by a person that believes in Universal Health Care, maybe you'll listen to and believe him. Oh, and by the way, the colloquial term for that law is Reagan's Health Care Mandate.
EMTALA requires that hospitals provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, regardless of citizenship, legal status (i.e. illegal immigrants), or ability to pay. Technically speaking, EMTALA only requires this of hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid insurance. But since Medicare and Medicaid represent more than half of all health expenditures in the United States, very few hospitals are equipped to function without government funding, and therefore, nearly every hospital in the United States is covered by EMTALA.
EMTALA is, indeed, the central factor in the “free-rider” phenomenon. The government forces hospitals to care for these individuals, without financially compensating hospitals for the cost of doing so. It is one of the largest and most coercive unfunded mandates in the United States.
Personally, I think it’s a good thing that we as a country ensure that everyone, regardless of ability to pay, has access to emergency health care. (We might even call it universal health care.) As I wrote last year, ...