Meet Chloe Jones, a 14-year-old Arkansas resident who is bravely battling cystic fibrosis. Chloe is not only fighting for her life against the fatal lung disease, but she’s also at odds with the government that is denying her the care she needs to survive.
Chloe is one of three plaintiffs who filed suit in Arkansas federal court last month. Along with the other plaintiffs, Chloe believes the state is denying them their civil right to treatment under the state-run Medicaid program.
The program, which covers most health care expenses for over 70 million low income people nationwide, has denied the plaintiffs’ coverage for the drug Kalydeco because of its cost. However, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson for the state is denying that claim.
“Cost alone was not the determining factor, but how we will pay for it is something we must consider in advance as we are a state agency with limited funds.”
Yes, the treatment is expensive -$300k expensive – but it’s nothing compared to what Arkansas taxpayers will be paying to provide free medical coverage to non-disabled adults through its private option Medicaid expansion plan.
The state will spend over $1 billion this year alone to cover healthy, childless adults, and at the same time deny Chloe her treatment.
“They just don’t want to pay for it,” Chloe said during an interview in Little Rock, where she travels for treatment from her home in Walnut Ridge, Ark. “I feel like they don’t care about what’s wrong with me, that I’m not as important as everybody else.”
In June of 2012, Chloe’s doctors learned that it wouldn’t be possible for her to obtain access to Kalydeco if she were to depend only on Medicaid, regardless of the fact they were sure she met the eligibility criteria. Chloe was hospitalized at least four times after her doctor’s first attempt to get her the drugs were denied.
To pharmacists reviewing the drugs, however, cost appears to be the only factor behind the state’s denied request:
“In an email to colleagues discussing a review board’s deliberations about Kalydeco, a pharmacist named Pamela Ford wrote, “the consensus of the physicians on the board was that none of the prescribers would have a clue that this will cost AR Medicaid $303,408 per patient per year.”
ObamaCare was sold to Americans as the compassionate way to cover the poor, the sick, and the uninsurable; but in reality, the most vulnerable among us, like Chloe are being adversely affected. Health care expert Jonathan Ingram explains:
This tragedy will only get worse, especially for the sickest, neediest patients in ObamaCare Medicaid expansion states. Medicaid expansion puts these truly vulnerable patients at even greater risk as panels of bureaucrats cut life-saving treatments so the Medicaid expansion population of working-age, non-disabled childless adults can continue receiving free taxpayer-funded Medicaid.
So, is this the beginning of death panels? The state, in reality, is choosing who lives or dies based on cost. Do you think Chloe is alone and Arkansas is the only state impacted? Think again. I asked Jonathan Ingram for more examples:
Medicaid patients in Arizona died
after the state stopped covering life-saving organ transplants, and developmentally-disabled Medicaid patients in Maine languished on waitlists for critical services, all to cut costs and continue funding their prior Medicaid expansions. Instead of a safety net, ObamaCare’s expansion turns Medicaid into a tightrope and its the truly needy patients who are pushed off first.
If you turn on the news today, chances are you’re only going to hear the ObamaCare stories that glorify the government’s takeover of health care.
But there’s another side to the story, a darker side. A side that shows how children, sick children, are being denied life-saving treatments under the president’s signature health care law.
My fear is that there are many more stories like Chloe’s yet to come.
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