Itís true that EMTALA requires a medical screening exam and stabilization of any emergency medical conditions. It does not, however, mandate admission to the hospital for treatment of conditions that are not currently emergent (e.g. cancer, kidney disease, and other more chronic conditions except related to certain complications). For example, if someone were to present to one of our emergency departments with some mild bloating and be found to have an abdominal mass, they may very well be discharged home for outpatient follow-up and treatment. If that person doesnít have insurance, they will likely have difficulty obtaining that care.
I agree with your example of someone delaying care because they are uninsured (it happens with regularity), but thought another avenue to describe how uninsured people could die despite emergency care being mandated by EMTALA would be informative.
EMTALA: the 1986 law requiring that emergency rooms treat you regardless of insurance status