Sample Essay On Distributive Justice

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Health, Emergency, Nursing, Health Care, Business, Services, Skills, Ability

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/25

Enactment of EMTALA in 1986 was an important milestone in ensuring there is accessibility of health care system to all including the poor and the elderly in the society. The law ensured that physicians provide care to patients who visit their emergency department regardless of their ability to pay those services. According to EMTALA, all hospitals participating in Medicare program are required to provide emergency services to their patients irrespective of their ability to pay (Wanerman, 2002). It required health care providers to give mandatory services to all patients regardless of whether they are insured, underinsured or even uninsured. Many people could refer this health care plan as charity care, uncompensated care or even uninsured care. It becomes non-reimbursed care even when the physicians provide it to the patient.
Although the act may have other economic consequences, it ensures that the goals of distributive justice are met. First, it guarantees the same thing to everyone irrespective of their ability to pay. The legislation compels health care providers to provide the necessary emergency care to all patients who visit their hospital irrespective of their ability to pay. Those people who come to the hospital to seek emergency services are all treated without considering their economic status. The policy ensures the rich, the poor, the elderly and any other group in the society access the treatment. The law ensured that the poor and the elderly were not sent to other facilities or turned away due to their inability to pay for emergency services as it was common before 1986. The policy also ensure that patients receive care each according to his or her needs through meeting the health care needs of both the rich and the poor in the society.
Secondly, EMTALA does not hinder the ability of people to compete in an open market place as required in the principles of distributive justice system. The rich and the middle-aged adult are freely to seek better or specialized emergency services from the hospitals of their choice. It also allows those who have health insurance coverage to seek better emergency services from their preferred health care institutions. Even the rich and insured patients who would prefer to utilize free emergency service are free to do so in accordance with EMTALA provisions. However, EMTALA does not promote this important principle of a distributive justice system.
Although free access to emergency health care is commendable, it has other substantial economic and social consequences not only to health care providers but also to the taxpayers. According to a survey that was conducted by American medical association in 2003, physicians incur a cost of about $ 138,300 annually as result of bad debts arising from EMTALA provisions (Kane, 2003). The taxpayers’ burden also continues to increase as the government continues to provide more people with free emergency health care. These challenges can be addressed through conducting a through cost evaluation that will ensure the uncompensated emergency services does not end up being bad debt. A better program that is more realistic need to be developed and funded that will ensure free emergency health care services only benefit only the deserving people such as the poor and the elderly. Such program will promote ability of the people to compete in an open market as required in a distributive justice system.


Kane, C. (2003). The Impact of EMTALA on Physician Practices. AMA PCPS Report from 2001, 1.
Wanerman, R.(2002). The EMTALA Paradox. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 40(5), 464-469.

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Sample Essay On Distributive Justice. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 25, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024.

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