Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Lawmakers Back Charity Care Instead of Medicaid Expansion

All seven Weber County based State Representatives vote to summarily deny Affordable Care Act expansion to 131,000 poor and uninsured Utah residents

Following up on yesterday's Weber County Forum writeup, the Salt Lake Tribune reports this morning that "[the] bill [HB391] that would prevent Medicaid’s expansion in Utah passed the House Monday by a wide [46-27] margin with urging from a family doctor who argued the health care solution for 131,000 poor and uninsured isn’t bigger government," (and we are NOT making this up) "but more charity":
"As a dedicated member of the predominant faith, I donate four hours a week to Boy Scouts....So what if I was assigned by my faith as a doctor to contribute four hours a week to charity care? What if the 3,000 doctors in the state were willing to do that?" said Rep. Michael Kennedy (R- Alpine), a family practitioner who sees patients at a University of Utah-owned clinic in Orem. "I would do it in a heartbeat. Would others do the same?...I believe they would."

Notably, wethinks, we find NO pending bill in the Utah legislature which would require Utah medical providers to "to contribute four hours a week to charity care," so we'll just chalk up Rep. Kennedy's above remark as a mere political non-sequitur.

Olde-timey religious love fest
Adding to the above alternate reality vignette we find this Utah House of Representatives gem, focusing on the House floor antics of  HB391 sponsor  Jake Anderegg (R-Lehi) for whom yesterday's House pre-vote "debate" devolved into something weirdly resembling a "visionary religious revival meeting":
Crying and quoting scripture, Anderegg called upon providers to do more and upon corporations to divert money they spend on international charities to building and staffing clinics at home.
"So-called charity care is a viable option if you get the right people at the table," he said. "My vision is a vision of people, county by county, throughout the state hearing the call to action and stepping up to serve the least of these, our brethren."
For a complete list of House representatives who joined in on yesterday's seeming olde-timey politico-religious love fest, bowed to currently faddish and twisted GOP ideological dogma and voted yea on this decidedly mean-spitited bill, we helpfully link, straight from the Utah Legislature's website, yesterday's final House vote tally:
Drilling down within the above list, Weber County residents, here are the names (for 2014 election day reference) of your local legislators who voted to summarily deny Affordable Care Act expansion to 131,000 poor and uninsured Utah residents:
"HB391, however, faces a doubtful future in the Senate," the Trib also reports. In that connection, of course, we'll continue to closely monitor this crackpot bill, as the 2013 Utah legislative session inexorably edges within three days of final adjournment.


Marco said...

"... devolved into something weirdly resembling a 'visionary religious revival meeting'"Not quite.  Try "L.D.S. Testimony meeting."

blackrulon said...

"...assigned by my faith as a doctor to contribute four hours a week to charity care?" If you have to be told to contribute it is a forced contribution and not true charity. If you willing contribute you will also not clai any charitable deduction credit on your tax filing. The use of hospiital facilities and resources is also a huge cost. What of the other medical workers who feel pressured to make a forced contribution? Despite the hospitals  self promoting claim of  writing off charity care it is not true. The cost of charity care is just paTsed along as higher medical costs to paying patients. the medicial technicians who run the tests and operate the equipment need to be paid. The buildings need to be heted and cooled, the lights need to be on. The expensive equipment needs to be paid for. It is not true charity. It is merely feel good talk while paying customers cover the increased costs of 'charity care'.

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