Saturday, November 11, 2006

National Health Care? No, Thanks.

Coming from Canada, I've seen how bad it sucks. Now here's a home-grown example with our own current version: Medicare. It's the sort of thing that happens when you let the government make important decisions for you. You get trapped in unbelievably illogical situations. Look at this example from today's Seattle Times.
Young's doctor referred her to the University of Washington Medical Center. They are specialists in severe complications from gastric bypass. But they can't treat her either. Thanks to Medicare. "Without any warning," says the U.W.'s Chief of General Surgery Patchen Dellinger, "Medicare issued a rule saying that now they would cover gastric bypasses but in order to do it you had to go to a so-called Center of Excellence."

And U-W is not a Center of Excellence. The "only" one in the state? The 110-bed St. Francis hospital in Federal Way. And because she's on Medicare - St. Francis turned Young down. Young read aloud from the letter she received, "We are unable to assume her care at this time as a Medicare patient."

"It's an unbelievable situation." says U.W.'s Dr. Dellinger. That Medicare ruling forced the U.W. to cancel surgeries for three dozen patients. Dr. Dellinger even argued with Medicare and it's local administrator Noridian - to let them at least take care of people suffering complications. "It almost defies the imagination that we're prohibited from caring for the complications, on-going complications - but that's how it's being interpreted at this time."
Good grief.


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