POLICY: This is just brutal

Ugly truth: no health insurance, no liver transplant.  Lose your health insurance in your 50s for a brief time period and your reward is death and bankruptcy. You cannot read this story without going “that’s not fair”. There may be a rational way to decide who gets a liver transplant, but this is not it.

And as more and more of these stories get out, the pressure for change will continue to bubble. (Hat-tip FierceHealthcare).

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4 replies »

  1. Naw, we don’t have rationing here, it’s only those socialists in Canada and Europe that have rationing. Think why many marginal Americans don’t bother with health insurance, no matter what they’d end up poor. Paying for medical insurance means less money weekly for yourself, sacrifice to pay for medical insurance, and you end up in the same place except what used to be your money now goes to the medical industry. It’s a no brainer.

  2. An HDHP would definitely have helped them. Any plan would have helped them. Unfortunately looking at the timing of events, it is quite possible that even if he were listed on a waitlist for a liver tx he would have died waiting anyways. A really horrible story, but this goes on every day in every major medical center across the US.

  3. Isn’t it interesting that the financial planner in the story helped her friend become poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. (And in Texas you got to be REAL poor for Medicaid.)
    The perverse incentives of healthcare for the middle class, we aspire to acquire wealth for that rainy day or comfortable retirement when perhaps the best thing to do is figure out how to quickly get rid of assets and income and become poor.
    The remarkable part of this story is that neither Ann nor Delbert were bitter.
    Gee if only they had had a high deductible and healthcare savings account (and a fairy godparent) they might have made it. Somewhere over the rainbow….

  4. In some cases, we’re also slipping into the plantation model of health care. Last summer I was injured, and I could barely walk for three months. A person who had hired me as a freelancer eventually subsidized some medical care because he took responsibility for the fact he was neither providing me with health insurance or paying me enough for me to get my own. I was lucky that a) he cared what happened to me, and b) the problem could be fixed for under $200 with the discounts I was eligible for.
    If I had needed a liver transplant, I would have been out of luck. Then again, I would have no way of knowing until too late because I don’t get “check ups”, and I ignore any warning signs that aren’t emergencies.