The desperate plight of people trying to deal with cancer without health insurance. - page 4

the american cancer society has been campaigning to raise awareness of the desperate plight of people trying to deal with cancer without health insurance. i offer dan and sharon brodrick as exhibit... Read More

  1. by   Pixi_Lixi
    Hi Djuna,
    We all understand no system is perfect, some are just preferable to others.
    I live in a small town in a rural/remote classified area and I agree that rural patients can find accessing specialist services difficult. Long distance travel to cities is mostly required and this can pose problems for patients.
    For example in my area, there are not enough patients to have a full time oncology specialist and it would be hard to entice one to live here permanently anyway (we also don't have obstetrics, surgery or a skilled ER either).
    I don't see that this is a problem with single payer health care, rather its with distance and population and I'm not sure how this would improve if we forced everyone into a private user-pays system.

    Now I know for a fact there are a number of people who have been ordered further tests such as USS and CTPAs, by their GP but cannot afford to pay for it, so they will front up to ER and have these tests performed FREE of charge.
    Is your issue that they are filling up the ER unnecessarily or that they get tests for free? Because if it's to keep 'em out of the ER maybe we should schedule free tests through GP's? You have said they cannot afford to pay for it.

    To the non- Australian's out there, so you can get an idea of our system, I went to one of the local GP's this week (of my choice) and had blood tests and examinations and I do not pay a cent.

    My partner dropped farm machinery on his foot and he went to the doctor, for free. He needed X-rays and that did cost, about $60 out of pocket and the rest is covered by Medicare (all Australians automatically get it).
    I severed a tendon and needed surgery and 3 days in a regional hospital, then occupational therapy. I did not get a bill as an emergency patient. I got visiting OT through the hospital because it's the only way to get it out here and it cost me $20. That included the splint.

    If my daughter got cancer, we would have to travel but she would get treatment.

    I have no problem with my taxes paying for health care, I can think of many more undeserving things. :spin:
  2. by   Djuna
    Hi Pixi_Lixi

    My issue is with abusing the free healthcare system by means of turning up in the ER and getting treatment free of charge when it is NOT an emergency. If they went to their GP they would have to pay and then be reimbursed by Medicare. No GP's bulk bill in this town so if you have no money, you just arrive in ER.

    I believe we all have some responsibility to take care of ourself and our family, if this means paying for insurance or saving a small amount every pay day in a jar, then so be it. If you have an accident or cancer, then I completely agree your healthcare should be free.

    No-one should NOT have access to treatment, however when the system is used and abused and precious healthcare dollars wasted on silly things like a CT because you have had a headache for a day, then it's just wasting taxpayers money. People don't even bother to go to the pharmacy to try out some pain medication or give their child paracetamol for a fever, before they turn up to ER, they want free meds instead.

    NSW and Victoria have been on the news a lot lately with the ailments in the healthcare system, hospitals understaffed, bad PR, shortage of Doctors, budget blow-outs, the list goes on. Someone once told me the healthcare system is like a bottomless pit, it doesn't matter how much money you throw in it, it will never be enough.

    There are no simple answers unfortunately.
  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    I doubt there will ever be a perfect system that can't be cheated.
    I also think it is better to ensure access to healthcare as well as food and sheltr to all.

    People living in sparsely populated areas will probably always have special needs.
    Canadian Medicare pays for children's cancer treatment in San Francisco from the northwest Territories.

    In Alaska doctors, midwives, NP's and RNs fly to some patients by plane. I remember an RN in the California Air Force Reserve flying patients from remote areas of Alaska to city hospitals on his weekend service.

    My uncle in Oklahoma was a VA patient. A bus went from town to town for hours taking veterans of many wars, mostly WWII to Oklahoma City for appointments. When he became critically ill he was cared for in the local hospital where he died at age 87.

    The difference was that there was excellent healthcare available in his home town but his VA benefits required an all day bus ride to and from. (He felt like it was a party on the bus)

    I know a cancer surviver, Viet Nam veteran who lives in a van since retiring from his loading dock job at a retail chain.
    He would get outpatient chemotherapy and go to his van for a couple days until her was strong enough to drive. Nurses brought him food. Once they emptied his port a pottie
    This guy's Social Security is not enough to pay rent in Los Angeles where he has always lived so he lives in a van and has money for other needs. He usually stays in a friends driveway.
    Medicare and the VA provide his healthcare. He is well now. Hair grown back. He is a friendly man.

    Anyway I don't think anyone should be denied healthcare.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Oct 29, '07 : Reason: typo
  4. by   HM2VikingRN
    There is a moral imperative to define health care as a civil and human right.
  5. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from HM2Viking
    There is a moral imperative to define health care as a civil and human right.
    I don't know that I'd want to see this made a legal imperative, although I certainly agree that it's a moral one.
  6. by   scooterRN52
    Quote from jjjoy
    What exactly is your question to CR then? I thought it was asking what law stipulated that someone visiting an emergency room must be treated. EMTALA requires that any hospital with certain contracts, such as with CMS (Medicare) which is almost every hospital out there and addressed in the FAQ, must assess anyone who shows up at the ER and must treat them if they are assessed to have a qualifying emergency condition. Beyond that, the ER doesn't have to treat. There's no requirement that the treatment be free to the patient or that it go any further than immediate stabilization - not continuing treatment. The main point is that if you show up to an ER on the verge of death with a treatable condition, they can't refuse to treat you because you ultimately may not be able to pay for that treatment. They can refuse to treat if you don't have a qualifying emergency condition, though fear of lawsuits makes people & organizations reluctant to not treat someone they have assessed.

    That still doesn't change the desparate situation cancer patients without insurance may face.

    The fact that some insurance companies won't cover some costs simply means that we can't assume that a national health plan wouldn't also refuse to pay for some of the newer, costlier treatments out there. Having insurance one way or another doesn't solve ALL problems, but it can help.

    I think the best we can aim for is some kind of plan that minimizes the chances of a major illness leading to complete financial ruin, leaving even more people dependent upon public assistance and charity.
    Iam an oncology nurse OCN and have worked in a cancer center forover the last ten years. Beleive me (cancer dx is devaststing to everyone involved and very expensive) I just lost two relatives last February to cancer. Insurance companies
    are very rich and they do not care!!!:spin:
  7. by   CRNA2007
    I live in a very rural area of the country should the taxpayers be forced to provide us with a full time cardiologist, a full time trauma surgeon, and a full time oncologist as well as a full time Pediatrician?




    Quote from spacenurse
    I doubt there will ever be a perfect system that can't be cheated.
    I also think it is better to ensure access to healthcare as well as food and sheltr to all.

    People living in sparsely populated areas will probably always have special needs.
    Canadian Medicare pays for children's cancer treatment in San Francisco form the northwest Territories.

    In Alaska doctors, midwives, NP's and RNs fly to some patients by plane. I remember an RN in the California Air Force Reserve flying patients from remote areas of Alaska to city hospitals on his weekend service.

    My uncle in Oklahoma was a VA patient. A bus went from town to town for hours taking veterans of many wars, mostly WWII to Oklahoma City for appointments. When he became critically ill he was cared for in the local hospital where he died at age 87.

    The difference was that there was excellent healthcare available in his home town but his VA benefits required an all day bus ride to and from. (He felt like it was a party on the bus)

    I know a cancer surviver, Viet Nam veteran who lives in a van since retiring from his loading dock job at a retail chain.
    He would get outpatient chemotherapy and go to his van for a couple days until her was strong enough to drive. Nurses brought him food. Once they emptied his port a pottie
    This guy's Social Security is not enough to pay rent in Los Angeles where he has always lived so he lives in a van and has money for other needs. He usually stays in a friends driveway.
    Medicare and the VA provide his healthcare. He is well now. Hair grown back. He is a friendly man.

    Anyway I don't think anyone should be denied healthcare.
  8. by   dream'n
    I find it odd that our country will cover mammograms/paps in a 95 year old with advanced dementia, but not life-saving care if you're younger than 65. Before someone throws up ER care, I mean Chemo./radiation, bone marrow transplants, etc.
    I remember watching a series of special reports in the early '90s by C. Everett Koop about the healthcare crisis in the US. One of the patients profiled was a young boy that needed some sort of bone marrow transplant or something, that was denied by his insurance. The boys mother was out panhandling, begging, doing everything, just trying to get the money for the procedure so he wouldn't die. I have never forgotten that series or that boy. He could have been any of our son. It could happen to any of us. That is why reform is so important in this country. We aren't just talking statistics, we are talking about people who are dying, many of whom are very young.
    Americans haven't banded together enough to force our government to do something about this. The elderly have, look at the AARP and how many of them vote.
    Last edit by dream'n on Oct 28, '07
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from CRNA2007
    I live in a very rural area of the country should the taxpayers be forced to provide us with a full time cardiologist, a full time trauma surgeon, and a full time oncologist as well as a full time Pediatrician?
    Do you have a plan for accessing care if you are critically injured, suffer an MI, or have cancer? How do sick children get treated in your area?

    Are you and your family at risk because of where you live?
  10. by   HM2VikingRN
    Quote from CRNA2007
    I live in a very rural area of the country should the taxpayers be forced to provide us with a full time cardiologist, a full time trauma surgeon, and a full time oncologist as well as a full time Pediatrician?
    As a matter of public policy it is important that we work together to reduce health care access disparities. Access to primary care services reduces the need for specialist care. It is a matter of public priorities that medical/nursing education is subsidized by the taxpayers through a variety of scholarship/loan programs.
  11. by   HM2VikingRN
    The link to this article describes how medical expenses put a family into bankruptcy:

    The Christophersons, who had jobs and medical insurance, got into trouble over back-to-back medical crises with two of their children. And now, Paul, 45, and Tracie, 41, face losing the one anchor in their lives -- their home. And like thousands of other middle-class Minnesotans, they are discovering that few options are available.
    ...

    But Matti, then 6 months old, started having stomach problems and losing consciousness. It took five multi-day hospital stays and a string of $260 visits to specialists before doctors diagnosed a disorder known as MCAD deficiency, a cause of sudden-infant death syndrome. Paul's medical insurance paid only part of the costs. In no time, the family was thousands of dollars in the hole. Although Paul quickly landed a new job with good benefits as a customer-service rep with Ecolab, the spiral had begun.
    http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1511708.html
  12. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    That doesn't answer my question to CR, btw.

    But it does prove him wrong.
    I have been turned away from an emergency room for being noninsured, and they weren't even subtle about it.

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