Sunday, May 16, 2021

Bill Crawford: Reform & Expand Medicaid to Save Lives

Had a date with the “widow-maker” last week, but the Lord spared me, with help from government subsidized health insurance.

The “widow-maker,” as it is known, is a massive heart attack that hits when your heart’s left anterior descending (LAD) artery gets totally or almost completely blocked. Mine was 85% blocked. But, I was able to get it fixed before it caused a heart attack. My Medicare coverage backed up by state retiree health insurance made the difference.

A month ago I experienced shortness of breath while visiting my daughter in Southaven. I visited the hospital ER, there, and was instructed to avoid physical exertion and to visit a heart doctor upon my return to Jackson. That led to an echocardiogram followed by a nuclear heart stress test. The test showed potential blockage and a heart catheterization was scheduled. Before that occurred, however, tightness in my chest along with shortness of breath sent me to the ER. With my earlier history and tests in hand, the ER sent me promptly to the cath lab where a stent was inserted into my widow-maker LAD artery.

I was fortunate. But only because I could afford all these visits and tests through my health insurance (premiums cost about $6,000 yearly). Many hard-working Mississippians who deserve good fortune much more than I are not so fortunate. These are the working poor who cannot afford health insurance premiums and do not qualify for Medicaid or Obamacare subsidized coverage.

Listen up. These are hard-working people whose only option is to hurry to ERs when heart problems get bad and hope they can get treatment before it’s too late.

Consider this: (1) Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Mississippi. (2) Heart disease is the number one reason for hospital admissions. And (3), no surprise, Mississippi leads the nation in mortality and morbidity from heart disease.

Preventive care, i.e., regular doctor check-ups, plus access to heart doctors and hospitals equipped to provide heart caths and surgeries would save many lives.

Don’t count on that happening in Mississippi. Lack of support for hospitals not only keep them from expanding, but also put many at risk of closure. Struggling hospitals have trouble keeping much less attracting new heart doctors. Communities with struggling hospitals have trouble keeping other doctors.

With no way to afford health insurance, the working poor can’t afford regular doctor check-ups much less heart tests and doctor visits.

Thirty-eight (38) states have reformed and expanded Medicaid to address these problems, but not Mississippi. It’s pretty clear that most Mississippi politicians don’t care about working poor access to healthcare or expanding hospital capacity.

Many claim the state can’t afford it. Untrue. Hospitals have presented legislators a plan to cover expansion costs.

Others claim not to want any more government subsidies for health care. But they’re okay with free, government subsidized health insurance for legislators and state officials.

Several states have taken control away from uncaring state government by passing referendums to reform and expand Medicaid. Proponents are looking to do that in Mississippi. If that happens, given our dismal heart disease stats, we should consider this a Pro Life issue.

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.” – Romans 12:13.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.



Anonymous said...

I don't even know where to start.

Anonymous said...

Bills latest “Save us mommy government! Save us!” article.

Anonymous said...

“Listen up”.

No Bill. YOU listen up.

People need to take responsibility for their own health.

Stop eating garbage. Exercise. Don’t smoke. Keep your weight down. Keep everything else in moderation.

Yet people like you think you can dictate health through “preventative care” and giving away insurance through the taxing of others.

Medicaid expansion is nothing more than a government money grab.

Please keep your hands off my hard earned money and let everyone take care of themselves.

You are free to provide money to anyone you think needs insurance. Go ahead Bro.

JT said...

You know Bill I would have to agree. The problem I have is with the legislature and their failure to fix the initiative process. This action not only killed medical marijuana but stuffed medicaid expansion in the dumpster with it. I believe that had MM been allowed to proceed money generated from the program could have funded not only Medicaid expansion but other programs as well. So unless people rise up and demand action from the legislature and the Governor both issues are dead for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

As with everything in Mississippi it's all about WHO and not What. WHO benefits and WHO pays, that determines everything. The writer is not one of the WHO that will benefit from Medicaid expansion so his sympathetic rant does not count.

Anonymous said...

Strange bit of narcissism Bill.

Everyone in their 70s now believes they have the right to live to 120. Regardless of any effort on their part during their lifespan to live a healthy lifestyle that might have promoted such, taxpayers should pay for everyone to live forever. Now please pass the sweet tea, pork bellies, and cobbler.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead Bill. Give away everything for free.

But let’s tweak your brilliant idea.

Let’s not give away this free healthcare to people that clearly don’t want to take their health seriously and take care of themselves.

I propose an aggressive tax on healthcare for anyone that is obese, eats fast food, smokes, dips, or drinks more than 3 day.

In addition, I believe that since you want to take my money and redistribute it, let’s drug test everyone. Including the pothead losers.

Now. Let’s move forward with your plan.

Anonymous said...

12:33 for the win. The old folks who now squawk about their benefits getting “cut” are the same people who voted Perot because Bush 1 dared raise taxes as part of a compromise with Dems to reduce the budget deficit.

Anonymous said...

There will come a time in this country when the very old will talk of a time of freedom the young will not be able to understand. That time is short.

Anonymous said...

@2:34 PM
You haven't been free for a long time. The freedom to consume products and television is not freedom, it is an illusion. The false sense of security from hoarding certain weapons you are permitted to have, is also not freedom. Especially true if you have become too timid to use them when it is so clearly the time to use them.

Americans are slaves to their own ignorance. I say this because they do not believe they are enslaved as long as their belly is full and they have their programs to watch.

Anonymous said...

All these old farts on here crying socialism, nanny state and a bloated government while they benefit from Medicare is ironic.

Anonymous said...

Back on the MS Hospital Asaociation's payroll, Bill?

Thought after you spent half a year for them attacking Reeves, your days of being a paid shill for the democratic party's only 'business' type PAC, they let you go into retirement.

Guess they brought you back into service when they decided to dump millions into their latest effort to line their pocketbooks with OPM.

Anonymous said...


Don't you have to PAY into Medicare to "benefit" from it which would also mean at some point you had a job and contributed something to society ?

Anonymous said...

How about a trade-expanded Medicaid and doing away with CON's for hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Instead of expanding Medicaid lets give that money to Nancy New and Brett Favre instead. Thats how Mississippi works you know.

Anonymous said...

Wait. What? But if Queen Mary doesn’t like it there will be a BS lawsuit and the Supreme Court will fold like a cheap suit. 6 cowardly lions on High St.

Anonymous said...

I love this, "Many hard-working Mississippians who deserve good fortune much more than I are not so fortunate." Who determines who deserves good fortune. This was a ridiculous piece. You had insurance and you got fixed, but feel guilty for doing so? Next time, just stay home.

Anonymous said...

Was told as a kid that a Liberal Dem is the person who jumps in the deep end of pool and sinks to the bottom. He/she then waits putting their hand up hoping to be rescued.

Anonymous said...

4:47 is correct about how Medicare works. 3:24 is ignorant or deliberately delusional.

FWIW my 92 year old father has never used Medicare, and gets all his medical care from his military retirement, which seems to cover a lot more (he also got my mother on his military account).

But here's an idea that might make everybody here happy - let's appropriate funds for one-way tickets to any state where the people whose plight so upsets our columnist might want to move. Then they can sponge off some other group of taxpayers, and we can go about our business here in peace.

Better Than Ever said...

@3:24 Exactly. Game/set/match. And don't forget socialism security... oops meant social security. My bad.

These programs are funded in arrears... so OTHERS are paying for your benefits. There's no 'trust fund'. And SCOTUS ruled that no individual has any rights to their contributions... they are all part of the big pot of money.

Shopping At The BX said...

8:40 - Whether or not your father AND MOTHER are beneficiaries of a socialistic perk as a result of his military service is debatable. Not all of us are entitled to Tri-Care-For-Life. It's a real sweet deal at taxpayer expense.

I was thinking just the other day, "If a single woman really wants to have it made, set your sights on some widowed 65 year old military retiree, rope him into marriage, and when he dies in a couple of years, you'll have both his pension and his Tri-Care 'free insurance' for the rest of YOUR life. We used to call them 'gold diggers'.

Anonymous said...

So the author is stating that Govt run health insurance is what saved him.
Otherwise he surely would have died, right?

I work in a major Jackson Hospital. Your care and management would have ben the exactly same regardless of whether you had medicare or not. You would have been treated the same. Please stop implying that the healthcare system stands by idle and allows uninsured heart attack victims who arrive at their doorsteps to die ...bc they can't pay for it. That's simply not true...or else you'd see a pile of bodies in front of every ER in the nation.

It wasn't the doctors providing the care.
Why do so many people conflate "healthcare insurance" with ...actual healthcare? for political narrative. That's why. Of course.

Politicizing every issue gets old.

Anonymous said...

It is ironic that many who decry socialistic "give aways", only do so based on who the recipients are. Additionally,they also fail to recognize or acknowledge that we ALL in some form or another receive benefits from government, e.g. subsidized loans, insurance, farm subsidies, business tax incentives. This type of thinking continues to perpetuate the harmful "us vs them"; deserving vs undeserving, hateful narrative
that divides us.

Anonymous said...

Some of the commenters should learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid (read how each is used in the article), and how they each work.

Anonymous said...

"I was thinking just the other day, "If a single woman really wants to have it made, set your sights on some widowed 65 year old military retiree, rope him into marriage, and when he dies in a couple of years, you'll have both his pension and his Tri-Care 'free insurance' for the rest of YOUR life. We used to call them 'gold diggers'." They still call them Gold Diggers. You must have worked at the VAMC. When I was there I would see these types in the hospital daily, and you are right, it works.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need a better and more cost effective health care system. Literally all first world countries have a better one (forget about what you have heard about your neighbor’s cousin’s former classmate’s ex-girlfriend who lives in Canada. Look at the statistical data!). But, yes, Americans need to show more responsibility and eat way less garbage, exercise more, and use less drugs. It’s not an either or.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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