I know many stories circulate on the Internet—and especially on Facebook—but a story I was shown a few days ago concerning a doctor and his views on Medicaid really did not set well with me.
The doctor tells a story of treating a woman who comes into the emergency room “adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive pair of tennis shoes, and who chatted on a new cellular telephone.” Even with all of these amenities, the woman’s payer status was listed as Medicaid.
Based on other stories on the Internet, and other debates you may have heard on the topic, the doctor went into an obvious tirade over having to pay for her or anyone else’s medical bills with his tax money when she could and should foot that bill herself.
Even though I never take any stories like this seriously, I was really irked by the message the reader was left with. That a doctor, who is obviously a professional for such a topic as this, would be enraged at the thought that anyone should have to pay for anyone else’s medical bills, solely based on one over-dressed patient.
This woman was maybe one in possibly hundreds of patients the doctor sees on a nightly basis, yet he bases his opinion of every Medicaid recipient on one experience.
According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the total number of eligible Medicaid recipients for the 2011 fiscal year was 822,950.
I know this is an argument that has been heatedly debated all over the county, state, and country, with the same points being made as what the doctor in the story made.
However, I think it is extremely easy for those of us that have a comfortable life to assume the only people who ask for government help are those that really don’t need it. I know of so many more families who are unable to find enough work, or jobs that pay well enough, for them to live on what they earn alone.
Families and individuals need help so that they don’t have to choose whether to buy food or buy their heart medicine prescription. Of course there are cases like the woman in the story, but there are so many more people who actually need the help they receive.
I don’t know about you, but if I have to pay for someone to receive health care, I would rather spend a small fraction of what I make so some child can have food, or some elderly person won’t have to take a chance without their blood pressure medicine because they didn’t want to go without heat in 30 degree weather.