The American College of Emergency Physicians criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for suggesting during a television interview that the uninsured can get the care they need when they need it at hospital emergency departments.
"Emergency care is not health insurance," Dr. David Seaberg, president of the ACEP, said in a news release. "All patients need health insurance that gives them access to primary-care doctors and medical specialists, as well as high-quality emergency care. However, our healthcare system is failing, because even patients with health insurance are having trouble getting timely access to their primary-care physicians. When their medical conditions worsen, they seek emergency care."
He added: "Emergency departments have become a healthcare safety net for everyone, but that safety net is breaking. If you continue to take emergency care for granted and don't support it, it eventually won't be there for anyone."
Romney was asked in a Sept. 23 interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" whether the government has a responsibility to provide healthcare for the 50 million Americans who are uninsured.
"Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance," Romney said, according to a transcript. "If someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care."