Fun (sarcasm) editorial cartoon in the Times Standard this morning. The Pacific Northwest’s Monte Wolverton hits all the fun right wing memes – sexism, government incompetence, welfare entitlement.
So lets take a look at what is actually happening. From another Wolverton cartoon.
30% of Californian’s insured under Medi-Cal.
From the Kaiser Foundation in March 2015, there were 12,248,555 Californian’s on Medi-Cal or a 34% rise since the Affordable Care Act when Medi-Cal insured 9,157,000.
Medi-Cal is our state’s version of Medicaid. This is a program that people have to apply for and if found eligible can often have what is known as a “zero share of cost” or 100% of covered medical procedures are paid for.
This is an incredibly important safety-net program for those of us that might be on either temporary or more permanent hard times. As Franklin Roosevelt might have framed this, freedom from want.
Medi-Cal is now a part of an imperfect but improving attempt national, state and county governments are making to insure all of us are insured. All other OECD countries outside of Mexico have figured out that universal health care is the way to go. Because of bad timing, Truman could not convince our national conservatives of this when we had the chance and since then they’ve owned the political discourse. Result – we are spending way too much to cover way to few with disastrous expectations. The silver lining is, those with money have the best care money can buy.
There should not be a stigma against Medi-Cal. It’s an incredible program allowing all of us to enjoy what a society should be able to provide. Medical coverage for all. We shouldn’t have to lose our livelihood, our homes, our families if we are unlucky enough to suffer a debilitating sickness or accident.
We obviously have a long way to go to solve these problems and they solutions will necessarily involve politics, government, the medical profession, not-for-profits, consumer activists, etc. In other words, all of us. Having the privilege of earning a living being on the front lines of this myself* I can tell you we are making progress. One of the big ones is for many people Medi-Cal is no longer a property-based program. This alone is such a big deal that is not being discussed. The property-based program was (and, ironically, still is for the most vulnerable) a poison pill that only serves to increase those aspects of the program the editorial is criticising.
The irony is, the editorial is fueling the exact attitude that lead to the lawmakers that would make Medi-Cal eligibility a property-based program in the first place.
It’s complicated and that cartoon isn’t helping. For a large percentage of the people who have been on the other side of that phone call, I’m going to guess they have had the opposite experience, at least here in Humboldt County. In other words, not only is it not helping, it’s not true. I’d challenge the T-S to fact check it, but I know they don’t have the budget to do that.
* CAVEAT: My name is Jon Yalcinkaya. I am an eligibility worker at Humboldt County’s Department of Health and Human Services. The opinions expressed here are my own and are only generally associated with day-to-day, client-to-client experiences at the DHHS.
Thanks btw to HCDCC member, retired bedside registered nurse and incredible health care advocate Kathryn Donahue for bringing my attention to that amazing healthcare info-graphic. It’s posted outside my bureaucratic minion grey cubicle and helps me remember where we are headed.