August 5, 2008

Texting & Medicaid

A recent topic on a local radio show involved a discussion regarding proposed measures in other parts of the country that will make it illegal to text message while walking. This is in response to an alarming number of persons being provided emergency care for injuries sustained while doing just this.

The show’s hosts, and the majority of listeners, felt that we, as Americans, should have the freedom to do stupid things, including texting while walking. My initial reaction was to agree.

However, other peoples’ stupidity costs all of us money and I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the costs to taxpayers of other peoples’ stupidity.

When a person is distracted and walks into the street and is struck by a truck, these are just some of the costs incurred:

The police that arrive and investigate are paid by the taxpayer;
The ambulance and crew are paid by the taxpayer;
Any disruption in traffic causes lost time and fuel;
Emergency room medical care is often funded entirely by the taxpayer;
If the stupid person was working, there is probably a workers’ compensation claim;
If the stupid person is disabled, there will be a claim for social security, funded by the taxpayer;
If the stupid person tries to sue the truck driver, the lawsuit will be heard in a court funded entirely by the taxpayer, from the judges to the security to the court clerks.

You have an absolute right to be stupid, but not at my expense.


A recent story in the Buffalo News states that Western New Yorkers seeking to spend down or transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid funded nursing home care are finding it increasingly difficult because of changed rules, and a new law will make it even tougher.

Advocates say the changes will return Medicaid’s focus to the poor and disabled, while critics say the new policies force parents to spend down their life savings after years of paying taxes.

I will start with the premise that our healthcare system in this country is broken. I will not try to fix it in this blog.

However, until the cost of healthcare is affordable to every person in this country, we need to decide how the taxpayers will pay for peoples’ care today.

To remain eligible for care for her husband, one woman removed herself and her husband from their parents’ wills, paid off the family house and put money in a trust. Now the taxpayers will foot the bill.

We are in a financial crisis and tough decisions need to be made. This is one of those tough decisions. Given the fact that Medicaid represents a significant portion of our tax burden, should a family that failed to purchase insurance coverage for long term care be allowed to “spend down” assets and put this burden on the taxpayer?

Or if we, as a society feel believe that we should not force people to use their savings, how much are we willing to pay in taxes to subsidize this?


WilliamWallace said...

Let them eliminate themselves from the gene pool.

Anonymous said...

I agree

DS said...

I just like the assumption/assertion that the gov't has screwed up everything that's wrong, but once we put them in charge of our medical expenses suddenly the gov't will be a shining example of efficiency.

Anonymous said...

But unlike hobbes, these people dont have life time medical coverage and have to scam just to keep up with the dime bag county workers.

Anonymous said...

Last anonymous, are you saying Hobbes is actually Tom Garlock, former head of the bridge commission, who was given a sweetheart deal and lifetime health insurance so Francine DelMonte's appointees on the bridge commission could give away the store to CSEA with 9 percent raises to Pat Brown can make another run for County Treasurer?

Anonymous said...

Nope, I`m saying that its Glenn Arronow. So he does the ballwashing to keep his pay and health insurance. Although it actully sounds like a good gig.

Anonymous said...

Aronow doesn't work in public sector so why do you care what he does for compensation? Other than pure envy, I'm not sure why anyone on here would be mentioning his name.

Anonymous said...


Gromit said...

Is this a conversation between one guy and himself?

Anyways, texting and driving should be disallowed, way before driving and being on the phone. But texting and walking, come on, eventually people have to make up their own minds.

Sweaterman said...

Listen...government is too involved in our daily lives.

I guess Henry has Rivera talking to many anonymouses in a row.

Anonymous said...

No, but I like how Henry had the Maziarz coments taken down.

Anonymous said...

Francine DelMonte, 46, of Niagara Falls, was charged with loitering at 8:18 a.m. Thursday. DelMonte was walking on 19th Street Thursday morning and offered a motorist oral sex in exchange for money, according to the driver, who alerted police. DelMonte also was taken in on a warrant for a previous loitering charge.