Health Care: Only if the doctors like you edition

24 Feb

The New York Times has a look at Medicaid reforms in Utah and claims that they may be the future. That's depressing:

Anyone looking for clues as to how the Bush administration might overhaul the Medicaid system should come to Utah and read the fine print of Tony Martinez's health insurance plan.

Mr. Martinez, 56, was homeless and without any health coverage a year ago. Now, under an experimental plan of partial insurance devised under Michael O. Leavitt when he was governor of Utah, Mr. Martinez can see a doctor or go to the emergency room for only a small fee.

But he and his wife, Lisa, are not covered at all for the potentially catastrophic costs of extended hospitalization or specialty medical treatment, from dermatology to oncology. For those services, they must rely, as they did when they were homeless, on charity.

See, they'll cover your checkup in the emergency room, but if you cancer or another catastrophic health concern the system doesn't pay and instead relies on the generosity of doctors and hospitals to provide specialty services free of charge. Of course, if they do that, they just shift the cost onto patients with health insurance which raise premiums for everyone else. So, the state saves some money in the short term, but helps escalate long term increases in insurance premiums that drive more people off insurance (but who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid!). That really is depressing.

Currently playing in iTunes: Love Calling Earth by Robbie Williams

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