I admit, I was wondering how this administration was planning to implement one of the key tools of British/Canadian healthcare - to wit; delaying 'non-life-threatening' procedures for long enough for a certain percentage of patients to die from something else and another certain percentage to simply give up* - but I should have realized that you can always find a way to bureaucratically obfuscate. In this particular case? Why, there's nothing like a good state/federal paperwork mismatch:
An Obamacare computer-system snarl means Bill Douglas will wait for weeks or months for the eye surgery he needs.
Douglas thought he’d finally have health insurance this week to pay for the procedure, but his application and those of nearly 16,000 other Iowans are snagged in a last-minute foul-up between the state and federal governments.
Douglas, 62, was discouraged by a notice last weekend that it could take another six weeks for state officials to deliver an answer about his application, which he initially filed in November. With his insurance situation still in limbo, he called his ophthalmologist’s office to cancel an appointment for an initial assessment for the laser procedure, which would treat his glaucoma.
Basically: Bill Douglas may qualify for Medicaid. I say 'may' because Mr. Douglas doesn't know, and neither does the state of Iowa - and if the federal government knows, well, they won't tell anybody. Including the state of Iowa, which understandably would like to know whether or not to put all of those people on the state Medicaid rolls. The federal government missed a key deadline - WOW! That's NEVER happened before! - and so Iowa has to go explain to Mr. Douglas (and every other person in his boat) that it'd probably be best if they all reapplied. And no, Mr. Douglass cannot simply go buy a plan on healthcare.gov until this is all resolved.
A few things to take away from the situation:
- Bill Douglas - and people like him - don't deserve this.
- If you're in a state (like Iowa) with its own Obamacare exchange than you should expect this sort of thing to happen with maddening almost-regularity for, well, forever.
- If you're in a state that (like Iowa) signed up for expanded Medicaid... then your state got hosed.
- If you're in a state (like the Iowa in the alternate universe where more state officials noticed that federal Democrats have been seriously fouling up all things healthcare lately) that's contemplating expanded Medicaid, take a long, hard look at events on the ground before committing.
- Lastly... seriously, Bill Douglas doesn't deserve this.
Hopefully the Obama administration will fix this - and the umpteen billion other things wrong with its signature policy 'achievement' - before Mr. Douglas goes blind. If not... well, I suppose that Medicaid will cover buying him a cane. Particularly since I believe that it would qualify as a 'medical device,' and thus be subject to a special 2.3% tax.
*I assume that whether or not this was the original intent, there are in fact elements in the British and Canadian healthcare systems that tacitly permit this state of affairs to continue. I'm sure that only a few, well-hidden sociopaths in those systems actually want people to die; but rather more have grown... inured... to complaints and concerns.