Do you want everybody to have health insurance? I am yelling this question into a sharp, dark westerly wind, in the middle of a long winters’ night. Questions like that know their own answers. I know it. But I want you to know it too and feel good about your answer. I feel fine about mine.

This comes up because we bought our daughter a truck she found on a lot in Spokane. She has an old 4Runner on its last legs. But a new car is out of the question on her salary.

I drove it down to our Idaho town and took it to our DMV to register it and get the title transferred. I brought in all the paperwork from the used car lot to the nice lady. She sorted the papers for me and handed back the half dozen she didn’t need.

“Do you want my proof of insurance?” I’d held that sheet back. We’d just gotten the form in the mail.

“No, we confirm insurance electronically.” She smiled at me. She was getting out all her paper forms she needed me to sign.

“Do they tell you what we paid too?” I should not be amazed at this level of data sharing, but it always feels like an infringement. She laughed and said no.

Then I went through our plan. We had paid for the truck, but we wanted to give it to our daughter who lives down in Canyon County. She works for the government so she couldn’t afford the brakes and axle seals and steering rack that needed replacement on the old 4Runner.

The kind, efficient lady listened and suggested we just add her to the title. Then, after a time, she could just remove us from the title, and it would save her the hassle.

And, she offered, since I didn’t have plates to transfer, they could have the new plates sent to her.

How helpful! “That would be great!” I said. “Do you need her address? And her name?”

“No, she’s here in our system.”

I was shocked. “Do you have her street address?” She printed up a form that had my daughter’s name and address.

So, the Idaho DMV can find my daughter without me even giving them her name, or her street address.

And this year, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare kicked 100,000 people off Medicaid because they couldn’t get a reply to a mailing or an email. Go figure.

I actually tried to. At a recent IDHW Board meeting I asked what data bases they used to try to find these folks they were kicking off coverage for lack of response. I asked if they used the Secretary of States voter registration data base. It’s public record. They did not. They suggested they had paid some national company some money to help, but, shrug, this was as good as they could do.

I knew the back story. But right here you need to answer that question I screamed into the storm. Do you want everybody to have health insurance? If your answer is no, then the backstory will satisfy you.

This year, the Idaho legislature budgeted for 120,000 less people to be enrolled in Medicaid. And so, the IDHW did that job. The Department will meet its budget.

But those folks will get care.

They will call for an appointment in a doctor’s office and tell the nice phone lady they have Medicaid. But when they come in for the appointment for their diabetes, the receptionist will tell them they are not covered. And they will go back home.

But then a week or a month later they will get hauled into the emergency room. Then, the hospital will have their paid staff go about re-enrolling them.

You probably know it would have been cheapest for them to die quietly at home. Is that your intention?

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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