Thursday, August 18, 2005

South Carolina Wants Inconvenient Poor People To Die

Via Princess Sparklepony (pleasing and newly discovered thanks to Whatever It Is), this astonishing intel about South Carolina's plans to 'reform' Medicaid, America's government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. As currently constructed, Medicaid covers beneficiaries for a fair number (though by no means all) of health services and treatments, regardless of the total costs of their care.

Under the new proposal, Medicaid recipients will instead be given 'personal health accounts' to pay for care, with a capped amount of money in them allocated according to age, gender and health status. If their accounts run out, i.e. if they get sick more often or more expensively than the government thinks they should, they'll have to make up the shortfall out of their own pockets, or go without.

So let's play this out. A single mother on welfare or, worse, with a job at Wal-Mart, gets lupus. She has kidney failure, and has to go on dialysis, maxing out her personal health account with maintenance treatments that will last the rest of her life. But then, oops! Liver goes too. Assuming no wealthy patron appears to rescue her, now she gets to choose how she wants to die: quickly from not paying for the liver transplant, or (relatively) slowly by choosing the transplant and stopping dialysis? Truly 'consumer choice' is a marvelous thing.

Naturally the right can hardly walk for the hard-ons they've got over this:
Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, said the plan promotes personal responsibility.

"If they've made wise choices, they might have money left over," Herrick said. "If they've made poor choices, it might take some money out of their pockets."

Herrick said Medicaid recipients already have a hard time finding doctors willing to see them because of the program's reimbursement rates, he said. The lack of access can itself lead to health problems.

"I think they'll get better care because I think most of us in private health plans do get better coverage than Medicaid enrollees, even if on paper, Medicaid looks better," Herrick said.
See how that works? They get shitty care now because Medicaid pays so little, so the answer is clearly to give them less money, and make it their fault when it runs out. It's all about 'wise choices', you see. Poor people get sick through choosing foolishly, and they'll only stop it if we make them pay. Or of course if they die. In which case, problem solved!

I swear to god, if you look closely you can actually see the mark of the Devil branded on these people's foreheads.

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