Hospital staff in Northern Virginia are turning away sick people on a frigid Thursday morning because they can’t determine whether their Obamacare insurance plans are in effect.
Patients in a close-in DC suburb who think they’ve signed up for new insurance plans are struggling to show their December enrollments are in force, and health care administrators aren’t taking their word for it.
In place of quick service and painless billing, these Virginians are now facing the threat of sticker-shock that comes with bills they can’t afford.
‘They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!’ a coughing Maria Galvez told MailOnline outside the Inova Healthplex facility in the town of Springfield.
She was leaving the building without getting a needed chest x-ray.
‘The people in there told me that since I didn’t have an insurance card, I would be billed for the whole cost of the x-ray,’ Galvez said, her young daughter in tow. ‘It’s not fair – you know, I signed up last week like I was supposed to.’
The x-ray’s cost, she was told, would likely be more than $500.
What you notice here is that the hospitals aren’t taking any chances. This indicates that they are terrified that the Affordable Care Act “system” will leave them holding the bag if they treat someone who hasn’t been enrolled yet. I think that is odd because, obviously, a hospital can’t stay in business without patients. In this case, they are simply paralyzed with fear of what will happen and are waiting for the insurance issue to get fixed so they aren’t bearing all the risk. They want upfront assurance that these patients can pay.
It is probably not going to happen, but I could see a good outcome from all of this. What if no one is definitely insured for some time to come? The hospital is eventually going to realize it is starved for revenue. It will have to trim as much as it can from its budget and also offer the best deals they can to attract patients. That would mean prices would plummet as hospitals competed for customers. We would see the bust of the health care bubble and the start of more affordable health care.
Government incompetence and overreach would give us back the free market.
But as much as I believe in government incompetence, I’m afraid that there are enough dedicated people in government who realize their credibility and survival as the parasite class is at stake. They won’t let it happen.
The Daily Mail story contains a lot more data and stories. For instance:
A similar situation frustrated Mary, an African-American woman small businesswoman who asked MailOnline not to publish her last name. She was leaving the Inova Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia with two family members.
‘I had chest pains last night, and they took me in the emergency room,’ Mary said. ‘They told me they were going to admit me, but when I told them I hadn’t heard from my insurance company since I signed up, they changed their tune.’
She told MailOnline that a nurse advised her that her bill would go up by at least $3,000 if she were admitted for a day, and her doctor told her the decision was up to her.
‘Should I be in the hospital? Probably,’ she said. ‘Maybe it’s one of those borderline cases. I have to think that if I were really in danger, they wouldn’t give me the choice. But what if I think I’m covered and I’m really not?’
‘The emergency room bill is going to be bad enough.’
I have to wonder, If Mary dies will her relatives have standing to sue HHS? Or will they have immunity, claiming this is the authorized consequence of their “death panel” authority?