Punitive “withholding”: How NOT to Care About Health and Welfare

Jesus, in Matthew, chapter 25, seems a little mixed up, or maybe seems intent on confusing his listeners (that’s what parables a are for, right?)…but that for another post.  I just wanted to pull out the quote about “doing unto the least of these” as well as “doing not unto the least of these”; so, go there if you wish, but what I think must be meant is that we might be wise to care about all of our fellow beings.  Maybe Joan Osborne said it best, What if God was one of us?  I mean He did seem to just happen upon Abraham on his way to destroy Sodom.  So you never know!

Maybe look at it this way: if a Zebra prays to a Zebra-looking-thinking divinity then if God was one of us then there are a lot of gods and a lot of heavenly perspectives.  Phew.

What prompted these semi-inanities (yes, “semi”) was an AP article titled, “The worst hospitals in the US treat the poorest Americans: study“.  I’d link to our local paper, but it has a pay wall.

Here’s the gist:

The nation’s worst hospitals treat twice the proportion of elderly black patients and poor patients than the best hospitals, and their patients are more likely to die of heart attacks and pneumonia, new research shows.

Now, these hospitals, mostly in the South, may be at higher risk of financial failure, too.

That’s because the nation’s new health care law punishes bad care by withholding some money, says the lead author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs….

Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals that fail to improve will see their Medicare payments shrink by 1 percent starting October 2012. That could jeopardize some hospitals already on the brink of closure, said [Dr. Ashish Jha of the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study].

That unintended consequence of the health overhaul could increase health disparities for minorities, Jha said.

Hmmm…”unintended consequences”, eh?

It seems to me that this story kind of highlights the future of education: reducing funding as a punitive measure creates a worse environment for health AND education

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. The masters of our insurance culture have moved into the education market under the banner of “choice”…you’ve heard this before right, “don’t let anyone tell you where to ‘doctor’?” (Except your insurance company.) Don’t let anyone tell you where to go to school! You have a choice, after we call your school a failure and then defund it, don’t you want to use a shiny voucher and take your money to a private school, hopefully a religious one?


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