I have one simple question for Sen. Susan Collins, Rep. Bruce Poliquin and their Republican colleagues in the Senate and House: If the Republican proposal to eliminate the Affordable Care Act insurance mandate passes, who will pay for medical care for those who choose not to become insured, or cannot afford to be insured, when they show up at emergency rooms or clinics for critical or other care?

In asking this question, I assume that Republicans are not going to pass a law that gives the right, or requires, doctors, hospitals, ambulances or other caregivers to refuse care and let those who are uninsured die or suffer the consequences on their doorsteps.

I suggest the answer is that I, and all those with insurance, will be forced to pay for this care in the form of higher doctor and hospital charges, and increased insurance rates to cover the costs of providing care to the uninsured. How does this comport with the Republican claim that the changes the Republicans propose will guarantee “freedom of choice”?

It seems that the changes being proposed will guarantee some people who have chosen to go without insurance, or who cannot afford insurance under the proposed changes, the freedom to impose their health care costs on those Americans who do have health insurance, whether we like it or not. This does not sound to me like the great Republican promise of “freedom of choice” for all Americans.

Robert Piampiano