Who must pay the bill when an uninsured parent checks herself into a hospital?

If possible, the patient must pay the bill. Various State and Federal programs exist that can assist those who aren't insured and still need hospital care. Additionally, the bill EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) requires that Emergency Rooms admit and treat you in a medical emergency, regardless of insurance or ability to pay at the time. However, the hospital has a legal right to charge the patient for services rendered, and to collect debts that relate to such charges.