The Monday morning newspaper in my town led with an article stating that the state of Washington (and all other states) can no longer haphazardly fund everyone’s wish list for the Medicaid program. No duh! But as usual, I think the method that they have chosenÂ to determine how to cut it backÂ may beÂ misguided. Â
Apparently someone in NewYork has made a decision on which disease states will be treated and which will not. Of course, when you do business this way, the panel of experts always seem to leave off the fairy-god-mother’s pet illnesses and everyone goes wild with fear of sick children dropping dead like flies in the emergency room parking lot.
Some physicians have advocated a co-pay for the Medicaid system for years. It would work! A simple $5.00 co-pay that has to be paid by the parents before they present to the ER with another child only experiencing a cold is an easy remedy for abuse. It makes them think a moment before they come to the ER unnecessarily.
Others refuse to subject these parents to the co-pay and argue that the poor can’t afford the $5.00. Â That’s just BS. I know, I grew up poor. It’s a pack of cigarettes or a gallon of gas for crying out loud. Â You should see whatÂ poor people wear when they come to my office. “Poor people aren’t poor because they don’t have money,” as I have heard it said.
This way, they make the choice of when something seems trulyÂ reasonable to bring to the Emergency Room. And if $5.00 is too much, cut it back to $2.50. If it’s not enough to act as a deterrent, move it up to $7.50 or $10.00. Lastly, I do not know aÂ single physician or nurse that would turn away a truly sick child or adult if they present to the ER without the required co-pay. We do have compassion and we have been trained for eleven years or more to identify which people are sick and which are not.