Thursday, March 13, 2008

A short health-care rant.

(Cross-posted at StreetProphets)

This is simply unconscionable.

I just popped open the Register-Guard website (they're the main paper in Eugene, OR) and found this:

Now Oregon is not a huge state. We have nearly 4 million residents, and I'd bet you that we have that many house cats. But 350 deaths a year due to a lack of health coverage is a disgusting number. Almost one a day.

We have a special program for Medicaid users, called the Oregon Health Plan. It functions basically like an HMO, and while they don't have enough money to cover everything (there is a fairly extensive list of things they won't cover, and here in allergy central- with the Willamette Valley, which is the grass seed capital of the world- they don't cover allergic rhinitis) they at least cover most of the life-threatening conditions.

Now OHP hasn't been able to cover everyone who is eligible, much less everyone who needs coverage, and the money problems are a constant. But recently they got a little more money from the feds, and were able to expand coverage to a few more people. But how to choose those people? They are running a LOTTERY. That's right, you read it right. Health care by lottery in Oregon. Life and death at the whim of Fortune.

How is it that people live and die in the state at the roll of the dice, and we can still sleep at night?

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