Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Making the Cause of Increase in Uninsured Missourians Sound Simple

News-Leader not considering all factors, blames a Republican

The Springfield News-Leader, Our Voice column, "Numbers of uninsured residents outrageous," in today's, September 4 edition states:

"The nation's uninsured population increased by 5 percent, which is bad enough, but in Missouri, our number of uninsured increased by a whopping 16 percent....

...Here in Springfield, both major hospital systems, Cox and St. John's, have made it clear that the increase in uninsured population in the last couple of years is creating financial stress. Ultimately, those of us who have insurance, the businesses that offer it, and state taxpayers will end up paying for this cost, and the price will be higher than what it would have cost to give more people access to insurance."

The News-Leader column claims that "the primary cause of our state's increase in uninsured population" is due to "Blunt's devastating Medicaid cuts from 2005."

But, considering that FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), in their study on Immigration's Impact on Missouri, cites the Pew Hispanic Center:

"According to an estimate of the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2005 there were an estimated 35,000 to 65,000 illegal aliens living in Missouri."

I wonder if it is fair to claim that as the "primary cause" without qualifying such an opinion. Without considering the population increase of illegal aliens in Missouri over the last couple of years?

Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Ph.D., Esq. wrote in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 10 Number 1, Spring 2005:

"What is seen is the political statistic that 43 million lives are at risk in America because of lack of medical insurance. What is unseen is that medical insurance does not equal medical care. Uninsured people receive medical care in hospital emergency departments (EDs) under the coercive Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 (EMTALA), which obligates hospitals to treat the uninsured but does not pay for that care. Also unseen is the percentage of the uninsured who are illegal aliens. No one knows how many illegal aliens reside in America. If there are 10 million, they constitute nearly 25 percent of the uninsured. The percentage could be even higher."

"What is unseen is their free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. "Anchor babies" born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income." (emphasis mine)

Blaming Missouri's population of uninsured and the financial stresses placed on our local health care providers on "Blunt's devastating Medicaid cuts from 2005," as the primary cause without qualifying it as such is short sighted. It just isn't that simple. There are other factors to consider.

Blunt has recently promoted his own crackdown on illegal immigration in Missouri. It wouldn't be a stretch to consider that as policy which could benefit the stressed financial situation faced by Cox and St. John's hospitals.

1 comment:

John Lilly said...

Some have made a big deal of the 90,000 that were kicked off Medicaid three years ago. I know one individual who was kicked off and is now on their spouses insurance. I wish the government would survey the 90,000 to see how many are still without insurance and how many found another source.