In our office, we like to have a lot of fun here. We tell jokes and make light of certain situations to make the burden and worries associated with insurance and retirement more palatable, but today we have to be serious.
Everyone has heard about ObamaCare. There has been a lot of mention of it, a lot of information, a lot of disinformation. There is talk of rationing health care, or not. There is talk of death panels, or not. No one can state honestly that they fully understand the enormous healthcare reform laws, nor can they say how it will be applied and its unforeseen effects.
I believe the best way to see the future is by looking to the recent past and the present. And that is exactly what we are about to do now.
Before we can begin to understand how “ObamaCare” will act in the real world we must first look at its father: Medicaid.
The expressed reason for the healthcare overhaul is to make sure that healthcare is affordable to all and that all may be insured. I doubt there is anyone reading this who doesn’t want everyone to have access to healthcare, (although we may differ on the engine or pathways,) but we must take into consideration the fact that the government already has this device for the poor and lower-middle class: Medicaid. According to MedicineNet.com, Medicaid is defined as: “State programs of public assistance to persons regardless of age whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care. The United States federal government provides matching funds to the state Medicaid programs.”
So now that we know that there is already a small form of what we think of when we hear the term “ObamaCare” we can now look to the recent past and the present in regards to Medicaid to get a good idea of how this massive overhaul will affect all of us.
To be brief, let us begin just four months ago in a land far far away: Arizona.
In the aforementioned Grand Canyon State, there is still no talk of Healthcare rationing or death panels- which is good news! Unfortunately, words are as empty as political promises. The reality (Google it if you doubt me) is dire and unbelievable. In a political landscape where we are pushing for equality of care regardless of finances, Arizona has decided unilaterally to stop funding medically necessary transplants to the poor. That’s right- the government has decided that people who don’t make enough money are better off dead. Sounds a lot like a death panel to me. How far is that from those wacky right-wing extremists that have been publicly denounced as mentally unstable? Are you one termination round away from a treatable illness becoming a terminal condition?
Sounds like you shouldn’t live in Arizona, lets go to Texas instead.
Whoops, it doesn’t look much better for some people in The Lone Star State.
Just as recently as one-week ago the New York Times reported that Texas was about to implement a major shift in Medicaid care.
Anyone from the March of Dimes, and statistically speaking a few neighbors could tell you about the absolute horrors you would endure if you had the misfortune of being the parent to a premature baby.
I consider myself blessed to not personally know how heart-wrenching that experience must be. I do have a friend who gave birth to premature twins a few years ago. Her husband could fit, with ease, his wedding ring around his children’s feet and over their thighs. She described the eerie hues thrown off by the heat-lamps, the inability to be with your child because their lungs weren’t developed enough to breathe. The terror.
Texas is making it worse. They have decided to cut funding to the hospital units that care for these children. They have decided that the poor need not have children that survive infancy unless the proper paperwork is filled-out and the bureaucracy decides your child is worth the cost of life saving treatments in time.
You might be saying to yourself, well this wouldn’t happen on the federal level. Arizona and Texas are run by conservatives, so we don’t have to worry about it.
If you are thinking that- you are dead wrong. The federal government has the power to stop these horrible things from happening at anytime. Not only do they have the legal authority, but if you remember the definition of Medicaid: …The United States federal government provides matching funds to the state Medicaid programs. Because these despicable decisions are based on budget restraints, all the Federal government need do is threaten to cut off their half of the funding unless they stop with the death panels and healthcare rationing.
But they don’t. They sit back in their office chairs and take notes.
These stories are fraught with portent, and we would be foolish not to recognize them as such. Why do we keep giving our cash, our lives and control of our checkbooks to those who openly refuse to practice what they preach nor live what they legislate?