I see half-dead people

There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you guys: what happens at local US med facilities starting around midnight on Jan 1, 2014? Because I see a rag-tag mob of sick and injured people walking, even staggering into ERs and waiting rooms by the millions. Like Dawn of the Half-dead: The Real Horror Story.

Most of them with conditions that have gone poorly treated or untreated, often for a long time. Conditions which by this point have caused all kinds of complications. Some of those uninsured may find to their surprise they are harboring an untreated threat to their lives. That they have suffered a heart attack or a mild stroke requiring surgery and physical therapy for months, or have cancer or MS or any of thousands of serious, progressive ailments, or are at immediate risk of losing a hunk of body due to untreated diabetes or infection. Many others will be diagnosed with not quite life threatening conditions, things they could fully recover from with the proper regimen, that wide gray area which has kept them from making headway or getting any help, until now. Some too sick or injured to work full-time, others employed at poverty wages with no health benefits, all of them too poor to have seen a doctor regularly if at all.

Everything from badly healed fractures to auto-immune disorders and terminal disease may come through that door at the first of the coming year. I don’t know if the patients will be covered or not, it probably depends a lot on the state. They’re supposed to be, my guess is a whole bunch will think they are covered, or at least hope they are.

More customers are generally good for an industry, even dying customers, there is the boom of a lifetime ahead if you work in any of the many overlapping healthcare fields and understand how to navigate the new system. The pent up demand from accumulated medical neglect in the states is hard to estimate. Presumably many admins in the healthcare field know exactly that, more than anyone else they have been around it for years, and hopefully steps have been taken to manage it.

But I don’t know if all providers in all states really get the degree and magnitude of desperation the Great Recession and lack of health insurance has produced. January 2014 could end up resembling a free healthcare clinic come to many towns, with lines of suffering men, women, and children stretching out the doors and around the buildings.


  1. unbound says

    If they can’t make a better profit of it, I would expect the hospitals will tell the underpaid nurses to just handle it…meaning that people will be sitting outside for days. My father-in-law in the last few months of his life regularly spent 12 to 18 hours waiting at his local hospital (and he had medicare, so they were making some money at least) for basic treatment. It was truly amazing he lived as long as he did.

    Hospitals have been set up to maximize profits, not emergencies. If there is a sudden outbreak of anything (or, in this case, a sudden surge in requested care), they are not designed to handle it. This is the problem when medical treatment is treated as a for-profit proposition (and, yes, even “non-profits” treat the medical system as a for profit industry…they just spend the money on their senior executives instead of spending the excesses of money on stockholders – which are also mostly just the senior executives).

  2. magistramarla says

    I have insurance, but I haven’t gotten decent medical care in years.
    I have auto-immune issues, so each of my docs have always wanted to make another one responsible for me.
    When I showed up at my new PCP’s office with a list of symptoms, as my previous PCP had suggested before we moved, he told me that I might be a hypochondriac and referred me to the rheumatologist.
    She then refused to accept my previous rheumatologist’s diagnoses and ordered new tests. When the tests were all normal, she dismissed me as having nothing wrong. (Do ya think maybe the meds I had been taking for two years might have had something to do with that, huh?)

    I suspect that I may be dealing with an untreated hip fracture for three years. After a really hard fall, the PCP’s office told me to call the rheumy’s office. I was told that the report of the fall would be entered into my records.

    Now that we’ve moved back, I’m anxious to see my decent PCP and rheumy, but there is a new catch. Thanks to the sequester, my hubby’s pay has been cut, so we can’t afford the expenses of our part of the costs for the inevitable lab tests and MRIs that they would want.

    So, even with that so-called great insurance that the federal workers have, I’m still suffering with chronic pain, I’m off of some of the meds that the docs refused to refill (since I’m not really sick), and I’ll soon be out of refills of others. I might die of medical neglect with an insurance card in my purse!

Leave a Reply