Would it surprise anyone if newFNP were to say that she is a supporter of a public option for health care coverage? Because she is.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
NewFNP does not understand the arguments against public health coverage. NewFNP thinks that Medicare is a pretty cool program -- certainly preferable to elderly people dying in the streets left and right. And although the reimbursement isn't great and the prescription drug coverage leaves something to be desired, if newFNP's 94-year old grandma needs to go to the emergency room, it's covered. If she needs to be evaluated for her hypertension, her doctor accepts her insurance -- her public insurance.
Another thing that oftentimes stumps newFNP is this vitriolic opposition to coverage for illegal immigrants. Um, sorry to be the one to tell you, but this country spends a shitload of money on the medical care of illegal immigrants. Lest anyone thinks that newFNP's clinic is full of native born Americans down on their luck, think the hell again. A large proportion of newFNP's adult patients are living here illegally. Some are applying for green cards and citizenship. Others are ineligible. For many, their children were born here. By and large, the parents were not.
NewFNP is very mindful that she is spending taxpayer money when she is ordering tests, referring to specialists and trying her damnedest to take good care of her patient's complaint within the walls of her clinic. But newFNP's time is well compensated -- those visits may be free to the patient but they are far from free.
In the absence of comprehensive and - let's be frank - rather harshly defined immigration reform, what exactly is the alternative?
Not treating someone's active TB because they are illegal residents? That makes little sense from a public health perspective as that adult living here illegally may spread TB to his child, who will in all likelihood go to a public school classroom where 30 other children may be exposed.
Or not treating someone's diabetes so that they can present to the emergency room in DKA or blind or with a necrotic Charcot? That's not going to save anyone any money and it sure as hell isn't going to prevent any suffering.
NewFNP doesn't know the answer. But she knows that bankruptcy due to medical debt is fucked. She knows that her patient today, a 40-something year old status post metastatic choriocarcinoma and a citizen, is scared to go to the emergency room for severe abdominal pain because she is already receiving daily phone calls over a $1500 outstanding debt.
And she sure as hell knows that preventing an illness is far, far superior a plan from an economic, an emotional and a future-oriented perspective than is treating a chronic illness, amputating a leg, tracking down an outbreak of communicable disease or treating anything other than an emergency in an emergency department.
Is there anyone at all protesting this plan who is uninsured? Seriously -- anyone? Have those who oppose a public option - even if it is only for citizens - ever met someone who suffered as a result of lack of insurance? Are they utterly lacking in empathy?
Not to be overly dramatic, but is this the America in which we want to live?