Alcohol Exclusion Law has a valid purpose
I am sure Dr. Michael Laughlin, "Repeal arcane law and prevent future DUIs," is an honorable man and a very good doctor, but while he may be correct in what course of action will correct the situation where Emergency Room doctors don't screen patients for drunken driving, he fails to identify the correct source of the problem for their failure to do so. He even characterized the Alcohol Exclusion Law with some other laws -- prohibition of such things as fishing from horseback and dying a duckling blue -- whose original purpose are a mystery. That is why they are called arcane. The purpose of the Alcohol Exclusion Law, which denies medical coverage to a person under the influence of alcohol and drugs, is not that difficult to discern. It fits within the general principle that insurance is not intended to benefit someone whose actions are outside the law.
Most insurance policies do not cover people for illegal acts. It is considered a moral risk to do so. For example, a fire policy will not respond if the owner is involved in arson. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an illegal action. The Alcohol Exclusion Law may have been enacted in response to a court ruling, perhaps even in another state, because while medical insurance benefits the insured by helping to pay their expenses, the primary beneficiary is the person or facility that provides the medical care. Since there are medical insurance policies that reimburse rather than pay on behalf of the insured, it may be that the law should be amended rather than repealed.
As to the reason for the failure of the law to work as intended, Dr. Laughlin states that doctors are bound by the Hippocratic oath, which briefly states that a doctor shall "Do no harm!" He then describes the treatment to fulfill this oath as often very expensive and, therefore, their concern is they won't be reimbursed if they do the screening. However, a doctor's responsibility goes beyond merely treating their patient for their current physical problems, it extends to helping that patient avoid the same problem in the future. When a doctor fails to intervene with the screening for alcohol, which in Dr. Laughlin's own words would identify the drunken driver and would provide for them the brief 30-minute education and counseling that studies show reduce alcoholic consumption and cut repeat offenses by almost 50 percent, how can they say they are fulfilling their oath?
I understand the problems of nonpayment of medical bills and the shifting of expenses that hospitals do when they are not paid for their services, but the law doesn't work because doctors are not fulfilling their obligation to their patients and to the public at large. Perhaps, if they had done so in the past when the law was first enacted and expenses weren't so exorbitantly high and then vigorously pursued payment of their bills, the law might have accomplished more of its intended effect.