Pawlenty: Let ER's turn away patients to cut costs

Emergency rooms should be able to turn patients away to cut costs, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) said last night

Appearing on Fox News's "On the Record with Greta Van Sustren" last night, Pawlenty said the federal law that mandates ER treatment should be repealed.

"Well, for one thing you could do is change the federal law so that not every ER is required to treat everybody who comes in the door, even if they have a minor condition," Pawlenty said. "They should be -- if you have a minor condition, instead of being at the really expensive ER, you should be at the primary care clinic."

Supporters of the federal law would content that many people go to ERs precisely because they do not have the insurance to pay for a primary care physician.

Van Susteren was also skeptical about Pawlenty's proposal, pointing out that it's difficult to tell what's a minor condition without treating it.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. OK. But you come in with chest pains, and like, you get horrible chest pains. Now, it could be indigestion, which is minor, or it could be heart, which isn't minor. So then...

PAWLENTY: You have to do a little triage. That's for sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right. I mean, so the problem is, it's got -- I mean, there really is sort of -- it's not that easy.