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Medicaid Cuts: No Dentures, Transplants

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Medicaid cuts: teeth pulled, transplant called off

By Carla K. Johnson, AP Medical Writer Mon Dec 13, 2010

CHICAGO – In Illinois, a pharmacist closes his business because of late Medicaid payments. In Arizona, a young father’s liver transplant is canceled because Medicaid suddenly won’t pay for it. In California, dentists pull teeth that could be saved because Medicaid doesn’t pay for root canals.

Across the country, state lawmakers have taken harsh actions to try to rein in the budget-busting costs of the health care program that serves 58 million poor and disabled Americans. Some states have cut payments to doctors, paid bills late and trimmed benefits such as insulin pumps, obesity surgery and hospice care.

Mind you, this is the kind of government run healthcare that we were told would save us.

Lawmakers are bracing for more work when they reconvene in January. Some states face multibillion-dollar deficits. Federal stimulus money for Medicaid is soon to evaporate. And Medicaid enrollment has never been higher because of job losses.

In the view of some lawmakers, Medicaid has become a monster, and it’s eating the budget. In Illinois, Medicaid sucks up more money than elementary, secondary and higher education combined

Lest we forget, the real reason the states are up in arms about Obama-care is the ‘mandates,’ which in effect triple their Medicaid requirements.

Medicaid costs are shared by the federal and state governments. It’s not just the poor and disabled who benefit. Wealthier people do, too, such as when middle-class families with elderly parents in nursing homes are relieved of financial pressure after Medicaid starts picking up the bills.

Contrary to stereotype, it’s the elderly and disabled who cost nearly 70 cents of every Medicaid dollar, not the single mother and her children.

In California, Medicaid no longer pays for many adult dental services. But it still pays for extractions, that is, tooth-pulling. The unintended consequence: Medicaid patients tell dentists to pull teeth that could be saved.

"The roots are fine. The tooth could be saved with a root canal," said Dr. Nagaraj Murthy, who practices in Compton, Calif. "I had a patient yesterday. I said we could do a root canal. He said, `No, it’s hurting. Go ahead and pull it. I don’t have the money.’"

Murthy recently pulled an elderly woman’s last tooth, but Medicaid no longer pays for dentures.

"Elderly patients suffer the most," Murthy said. "They’re walking around with no teeth."

Remember the fantasy story told by Louse Slaughter, about the woman who had to wear her dead sister’s dentures? Remember how passing Obama-care was going to prevent that from ever happening again?

The AP article goes on to cite example after example of pain and suffering due to the lack of medical procedures that the federal government now refuses to cover under Medicaid.

And yet somehow the reporter does not seem to realize that Obama-care is just Medicaid writ large.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Medicaid Cuts: No Dentures, Transplants”

  1. bill says:

    It’s expensive to insure the borderless world’s peoples.

  2. Petronius says:

    I was hoping to get a prostate transplant next year, but now it looks like I may have piddled away my last opportunity.

    I ask you — what’s the point of having all those TSA inspectors with latex gloves if the government won’t provide any treatment? Gee-whiz.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Idiots in congress. With numero-uno idiot/vacationer-in-chief.

    *sigh*

    I guess the one good thing is that the people can now truly see what socialism is about and hopefully, they’ll experience some anger as to why their high-school teachers and college professors never told them the downside to socialism. Still, some will never be convinced as the reason socialism fails is because “it’s not being done by the right people” but it’s a mental illness that can most easily be seen by the person who drives their car while it makes a horrible noise, thinking (and saying) “it’ll probably fix itself”. These are the people who truly think that unicorns are real because they believe it to be so. Yet they will scoff at people who hold the Christian religion close for the same reason. I’ve seen the arguments and shake my head.

    “How do you know God is real? Have you ever seen him?”

    “Well, how about you? You have all those stupid unicorns on your desk and, by the way, have you ever seen one of them for real?”

    “Yes”

    “When?”

    “I had a dream and it was so real…I knew I had to be in a place where they were real.”

    “You’re kidding, right?”

    “No…it seemed very real, so I think that the unicorns were trying to tell me to believe in them.”

    And so it goes. Again, you cannot reason with the irrational. Whether these elected dipsticks just want more power or if they actually believe in unicorns makes no difference. The end result is the same: Less personal freedom for the people and less money in our pockets. As far as they see it, it matters not, most likely.

  4. proreason says:

    so it begins

  5. Mae says:

    “Elderly patients suffer the most,” Murthy said. “They’re walking around with no teeth.”

    My mother’s regular dentist under her insurance would not work on her because of her health problems. So out of my own pocket I paid the $6,000+ to get her dentures from a dentist who was not in her insurance program. Any family who lets an elderly member go around without teeth should be taken en masse and horse whipped. Pooling money all across the relative chain, working an extra job, using a credit card–oh, no, can’t do that! Why, let the government take care of it–let someone else’s children pay for your mother or father or elderly aunt. Irresponsibility, thy name is Democrat.

  6. bousquem says:

    I remember working in a hospital and rounding with a surgery team when the discussion came from one of the residents of why they were not seeing more New York medicaid patients as before they had a lot of them coming to the hospital for surgery. Apparently the hospital was not accepting NY medicaid patients for elective surgeries, the hospital was in Vermont, as the NY state was not paying anything for the surgeries if not done in NY. All the bills racked up by the medicaid patients were expected to be eaten by the hospital, so said hospital decided that no more elective surgeries. They were not going eat hundreds of thousands of dollars in free care if they didn’t have to. I don’t blame them either.

  7. TerryAnne says:

    Why do I get the impression that this article was not intended to make people mad at what our tax dollars were paying for up until now…but for us to become so overwhelmed with sadness that those we’ve been bankrolling for years, and who have nothing to show for it, are going to get even less and that we should suddenly want to throw more money at them?

    I say this because of these two blurbs:

    In Illinois, a pharmacist closes his business because of late Medicaid payments. In Arizona, a young father’s liver transplant is canceled because Medicaid suddenly won’t pay for it. In California, dentists pull teeth that could be saved because Medicaid doesn’t pay for root canals.

    -and-

    Contrary to stereotype, it’s the elderly and disabled who cost nearly 70 cents of every Medicaid dollar, not the single mother and her children.

    Nothing about that pharmacist having only elderly patients. A young father can’t be elderly at the same time. And nothing about the California dentist goers being almost entirely elderly. They lie so hard anymore that they can’t even keep them straight in a paper.

    What’s even funnier: it costs more to pull a tooth than it does for a root canal.

  8. spudmom says:

    Doesn’t medical care for the elderly fall under MEDICARE, a federal program, instead of MEDICAID? So how is it that the elderly and disabled fall under MEDICAID? Perhaps it’s time to revisit the number of “disabled” in this country, since there seem to be many of them who are young and can become self-sufficient. When you have young men who are “disabled” by back injuries who manage to father several children while collecting disability, there is something wrong with the system.


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