(I assume that Michael Moore’s indictment of US healthcare, Sicko, couldn’t cover many of the ways people are deprived of adquate care, and I think the case below illustrates one of them. But even if he did include it, the specific case again usefully makes the point.)
I received the following emessage today. “UTMB” is the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. It is well-know for treating indigent people; their emergency room does not ask for proof of ability to pay before one receives treatment. But there are horrendous gaps nonetheless.
Galveston is about 45 miles from Houston, which contains what is, by some measurements, the largest medical center in the world. Methodist Hospital, with its teak furniture, piano and fountains in the foyer, provides treatment for some of the world’s richest people. And yet, in its shadows…well, you’ve read Dickens…
All of you know Dave Diggins and most also know his wife, Susan. I am sorry to let you know that Susan has been diagnosed with breast cancer – she has two areas in her right breast. At this time, the physicians are talking about chemotherapy treatment in order to shrink them before they consider surgery. The radiology department at UTMB has referred Susan to oncology.
Unfortunately, Dave and Susan do not have health insurance and they would have to qualify for indigent care before they would be allowed to see oncology. Since they do not qualify, they have, at this time, been turned away. It is really hard for the mid-income people who are self-employed to make enough to afford health care and Dave just happens to fit into that group.
They have been put in contact with Sr. Joan James, who works with the Susan Cronin Breast Cancer Foundation that administers grants to people that find themselves in Dave and Susan’s position. However, as you know, obtaining grants can sometimes take longer than anticipated. [All names of persons changed.]
Perhaps, like me, you weren’t aware that indigence is means-tested in the case of life saving health care.