In the post on health care in prisons, MileHiMama asked, "[D]oes ... the government [have] to provide healthcare, or simply ensure unencumbered access to it?"
What constitutes an encumbrance to health care? EMTALA removes the encumbrance of pre-qualification based on ability to pay, but only in emergencies. Most doctors' practices are not affected by EMTALA because they do not provide emergency care.
Medicaid covers people below a certain income bracket. Medicaid recipients have access to routine and preventative care, but people above this income bracket have no guarantee of receiving such care, unless they have health insurance.
Some of these uninsured cannot afford to pay cash for routine care. I see three options for those people: borrow the money, poach from another part of the budget (such as food or transportation), or go without routine care. Do these people have unencumbered access to non-emergency care?