Free Markets, Free People


Trust me – this example I’m about to paste below isn’t the first nor will it be the last example of government health care and how it will work.  Or in this case, how it works now:

A Hollywood woman who was dropped from Medicaid coverage while needing a bone marrow transplant is finally getting the coverage and treatment she needs to stay alive.

Diana Smith is battling a rare form of Leukemia and needs the transplant to survive. She managed to raise money to pay for it thanks to her friends and the community, but then last week she found out her Medicaid coverage was dropped – putting her operation on hold.

Yes, that’s right, she was dropped by Medicaid and had to raise the money herself to have the treatment she needed to survive. She’d been in remission after chemo treatments which was a prerequisite to receive the bone marrow transplant.  Here’s the ironic part:

But her hopes of receiving the transplant were dashed in March, when she says, the Social Security Administration contacted her –without her soliciting it — and told her that her three year-old son was entitled to receive Social Security disability payments. Even though she didn’t ask for it, she signed the form and received her son’s first check.

In April, Medicaid canceled her universal health care policy because her income level had risen with her son’s payments – making her ineligible for the insurance program.

The problem is Jackson Memorial Hospital could not provide the procedure because the risk is too high. The universal policy from Medicaid helps shield the hospital from liability in this kind of case. Without it, they are subject to liability issues.

Even though Smith offered to cancel her son’s disability benefits, she was told it’s too late.

The bureaucracy had spoken, she was denied any appeal and Smith was left to fend for herself.  The not so amazing thing is she found a way to do that through the charity of others.  But the “compassionate government” – which promised to make this all better and ensure that things like this wouldn’t be perpertrated by heartless and evil insurance companies – could care less.

Now you may say this is just an odd-ball exception to what normally happens – a set of circumstances which aren’t normal or what one could consider routine.  Well, it was easily fixable, wasn’t it?  Just accept her offer to cancel the disability benefits, schedule repayment and resume her treatment.  Why was it be “too late” to do that?  What possible reason makes it “too late”? Obviously she needed the treatment, had undergone the requisite chemo to get to a state of remission and was scheduled to receive it because of that. How could a compassionate government not quickly cancel her son’s unsolicited disability payment and resume her treatment?

Easy – bureaucracies aren’t compassionate.  They’re inflexible rule followers, most of which they write themselves.  One government program’s bureaucracy (Medicare) denies more claims per year than do the evil, heartless insurance companies.  Stories like Diana Smith’s aren’t particularly unusual, nor will the likely be rare if we ever have a fully government run system.  Bureaucracies will rule and their only rule will be to follow the rules – their rules, and you’d better know them – or find yourself in Smith’s position.



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6 Responses to Catch-22

  • Of course, seeing their opportunity to score some political points the politicians jumped into the fray and likely bullied the hospital into doing the surgery anyway.
    If she hadn’t found her way onto the news there would be no Social Security investigation and she, most likely, would not be getting her treatment at all.  Of course when the Social Security investigation is done the “changes” put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again will likely make things much worse for all involved rather than better.

  • Perhaps Imeme can rant (again) about greedy insurance companies, (again) about greedy doctors who’ll whip off a leg just to collect the surgery fee, and (again) about heartless medical providers and insurance executives who dare to obey the law instead of following its benevolent intent as he signs another executive order mandating asking-hospitals-politely-otherwise-they’ll-have-to-pay-a-whopping-big-but-not-punitive-fine-which-is-absolutely-NOT-the-same-as-a-mandate-you-racist-teabagger to provide any and all treatments needed by any and all people who walk in the door regardless of who will – or, in this case, WON’T – pay for it.  After all, health care is a RIGHT.

    / sarc

    Seriously, though, what’s been lost in all of this is another right… of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to be paid what they think their work is worth (or, more accurately, what the market will bear).  This is a rather a peculiar (not!) omission as it’s a tenent of faith on the left that workers, not greedy management, get to decide what their work is worth.  Why should doctors and nurses be any different?

  • Well, can’t she just take the painkillers instead?  Or is she just not that patriotic?