I was reading an interesting article on the NY Time website with regards to Medicaid, and how many State Legislatures are working on cutting funding to the programmes. There are current restrictions in place which barrs the individual States from adjusting eligibility requirements, and the Democrats are pushing to add another 15MM to the Medicaid rolls. The only way to cut costs without striking people off the list is to look at “electives”.

One State is looking at reducing the number of incontinence pads adults can get, from 300 to 186.

What astounds me is that most western industrial nations have delved into the concept of socialised medicine (in one form or another) with the attitude being that access to healthcare is a right, not a priviledge; granted, there are innumerable cases of individuals abusing the sytem — doctor-shopping, going to the ER with a papercut — but in most cases those of us with access to socialised medicine tend to be healthier, happier, and live longer.

I wasn’t alive at the time of the great struggle we had in Canada when universal healthcare was being put forth, and the battles that ensued between the medical establishment and government. Maybe what is happening in the States is what happened here in Canada 40+ years ago, I’m not sure.

I read different medical support forums and I am saddened by the struggles that individuals down in the States have to go through just to get basic care — prescriptions, catheters, gauze, surgeries. I got sick last summer and my only thought when I rushed to the ER was how to reach my mum (like a good eastern european woman, she can disseminate information very quickly to all and sundry) not how the hell am I going to pay for the ambulance, the meds, the doctors etc. I had a private room (when eventually released to the ward) but while in CrCU I was on a ventilator, an NG tube down my throat, multiple IVs, multiple tests (doppelar, chest x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, lung biopsy) and some very strong IV medications … none of which I had to pay.

Today’s article in the NY Times both saddens and angers me. That doctors are forced to either accept medicaid patients and operate at a loss, or look to their own financial security and turn away those patients who do need help & support.