Socialized Medicine and Unfunded Mandates 2

We spent five hours today hearing appeals on medical indigency cases. Per Idaho law, the counties are responsible for paying medical bills for people who are found to be medically indigent.

The county pays these medical bills at the Medicaid rate, up to $11 thousand per person, per year. This is an unfunded mandate because the state does not provide the dollars to cover the cost. The state picks up the tab for the remaining balance when charges exceed the $11 thousand threshold.

Some of the definitions from relevant sections of Idaho Code will give you a better idea of what we examine, on a case-by-case basis:

• Idaho Code section 31-3502 (15) “’Medically indigent’ means any person who is in need of necessary medical services and who, if an adult, together with his or her spouse, or whose parents or guardian if a minor, does not have income and other resources available to him from whatever source sufficient to pay for necessary medical services. Nothing in this definition shall prevent the board of county commissioners and administrator from requiring the applicant and obligated persons to reimburse the county and the catastrophic health care costs program, where appropriate, for all or a portion of their medical expenses, when investigation of their application pursuant to this chapter, determines their ability to do so.”

Although we can legally try to collect repayment of the property tax dollars spent on medical bills, and we do make every effort to do so, in reality the county only recovers a fraction of what taxpayers pay out for medically indigent patients.

• Idaho Code section 31-3502 (16) A. “‘Necessary medical services’ means health care services and supplies that:
(a) Health care providers, exercising prudent clinical judgment, would provide to a person for the purpose of preventing, evaluating, diagnosing or treating an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms;
(b) Are in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice;
(c) Are clinically appropriate, in terms of type, frequency, extent, site and duration and are considered effective for the covered person’s illness, injury or disease;
(d) Are not provided primarily for the convenience of the person, physician or other health care provider; and
(e) Are not more costly than an alternative service or sequence of services or supply, and at least as likely to produce equivalent therapeutic or diagnostic results as to the diagnosis or treatment of the person’s illness, injury or disease.”

You think Obama is promoting socialized medicine? Look at where we are now. We already have it, but in its worst possible form. There is no preventative care provided, but we are required to pay medical bills for costly emergency room treatments when a patient’s condition becomes critical. The current system is in grave need of reform.

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2 thoughts on “Socialized Medicine and Unfunded Mandates

  • Sharon Ullman

    Clancy ~ We have $3.4 million budgeted for the fiscal year that begins October 1; however, with the economy in the shape it's in, that might not be enough. This amount does not account for all of the staff time and other costs involved in processing claims.