When the heart interferes with the brain

 

If you are on Facebook, you have probably seen Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue about his son, who was born with heart defects and required heart surgery shortly after birth.

(When Kimmel mentioned the name of the heart defect, tetralogy of fallot, I immediately recognized it, because earlier in my career I covered, within a few months, stories about three babies with heart defects. One survived, one died, and I’m not sure what happened in the third case.)

Thankfully, Kimmel’s son apparently will be all right, though he will require more surgery. Unthankfully, Kimmel concluded his monologue by supporting something he should not support, Obamacare.

Michelle Malkin explains why:

Millions of American parents, myself included, have walked in Kimmel’s shoes. We’ve experienced the terrifying roller coaster of emotions — panic, helplessness, anger, anxiety, relief, grief, and unconditional love — that comes with raising chronically ill kids.

But Kimmel didn’t use his high-profile platform to educate the public about coping with rare diseases. Or to champion the nation’s best and brightest pediatric specialists and medical innovators. The Tinseltown celebrity turned his personal plight into a political weapon, which his liberal friends were all too happy to wield. Top Democrats tweeted their praise for Kimmel’s advocacy of expanded government health-care regulations:

“Well said, Jimmy,” Barack Obama gushed.

“Thanks @jimmykimmel for sharing your story & reminding us what’s at stake w/health care,” Hillary Clinton effused.

The Huffington Post piled on: “Jimmy Kimmel’s Humanity Underscores Heartlessness Of GOP’s Approach To The Poor.”

I don’t need lectures from Huffington Post and Hollywood elites about having a heart. Neither do the rest of America’s parents, whatever their political affiliations, who know what it’s like to stay up night after endless night with suffering children, wondering whether they would ever be able to breathe normally again or see the light of the next day.

Kimmel doesn’t need more maudlin Twitter suck-uppery. He needs a healthy fact-check.

“Before 2014,” he claimed, “if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition, you were born with a pre-existing condition.”

This is false. If parents had health insurance, the child would have been covered under the parents’ policy whether or not the child had a health problem.

Kimmel continued: “And if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.”

The term “pre-existing condition” is used to describe uninsured chronically ill people who apply for insurance coverage, not for a child in need of immediate care. Moreover, in the U.S., virtually all hospitals are legally obligated to provide emergency treatment to every patient who urgently requires emergency medical care regardless of the patient’s insurance status. This would include a newborn with an urgent heart condition. This requirement does not apply only to patients who enter an emergency room. It applies to all patients who set foot on a hospital’s property.

Kimmel then dramatically asserted: “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.”

I repeat: It does not matter if you are rich are poor or if you are uninsured. If your baby is in the hospital, he or she will receive emergency care no matter what.

“This isn’t football,” Kimmel implored. “There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”

Kimmel implies that opposition to Obamacare-style insurance mandates is both un-American and indecent. Had he been less hysterical, he would have acknowledged that different health-care systems have pros and cons — and decent Americans can have legitimate differences of opinion on such matters.

In the land of make-believe, it would be wonderful if everyone had free access to the same high-quality care Kimmel and his family did at Cedars-Sinai and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

In the real world, Obamacare plans have severely curtailed the number of doctors and hospitals that customers can use. Command-and-control regulations on guaranteed issue, community rating, and pre-existing conditions favored by Kimmel and company are driving up costs for everyone. Limited access to specialists and long waits have become the increasing norm — just like that other model of government-run health care, the Veterans Affairs system, where the despicable practice of “death by queuing” spiked under Obama.

Moving toward a nationalized health system might play well with an emotion-driven late-night comedy audience. But sober observers know it would mean undermining America’s superior access to cutting-edge diagnosis, innovative treatment, top specialists and surgeons, technology, and drugs.

This is what Kimmel’s ObamaCare has done, as reported by the Des Moines Register:

Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here.

Medica, a Minnesota-based health insurer, released a statement suggesting it was close to following two larger carriers in deciding not to sell such policies in Iowa for 2018, due to instability in the market.

“Without swift action by the state or Congress to provide stability to Iowa’s individual insurance market, Medica will not be able to serve the citizens of Iowa in the manner and breadth that we do today. We are examining the potential of limited offerings, but our ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point,” the company’s statement said.

Medica’s announcement comes on the heels of word last month that Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield would pull out of Iowa’s individual health insurance market for 2018. Those are the only three choices for individual health insurance in most areas of the state this year.

The pull-outs would not affect Iowans who obtain insurance via an employer or a government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. But the carriers’ exit could leave more than 70,000 Iowans who buy their own coverage without any options for 2018.The news caught national attention Wednesday, because of fears that residents of other states could also lose insurance as carriers pull out of the market. …

Medica Vice President Geoff Bartsh said his company would have continued selling insurance throughout Iowa if Wellmark and Aetna had stayed in the market. But Medica, which lost $1.5 million covering 14,000 Iowans last year, couldn’t afford to take on tens of thousands more from the other two carriers, he said.

“The decision wasn’t, ‘Should we continue?’ It was, ‘Should we be the only game in town?’” Bartsh said in an interview Wednesday.

Iowa doesn’t meet many definitions of being a high-cost state. What happens in high-cost states?

 

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