So Easy

So my friend had three polyps; two benign, one malignant. So he had to have another colonoscopy this year to recheck things. So he’s on Medicaid. So Medicaid doesn’t pay for the prep material that you must drink and cannot have a colonoscopy without. So he had to postpone the colonoscopy until a day came when he didn’t have to choose between a colonoscopy and sitting in the dark because he couldn’t pay the light bill.


So my friend needed a procedure done. So he has no car, and he lives downtown. So he’s on Medicaid. The Medicaid provider is in Collierville. So my friend, with no transportation, must bypass the Med and Methodist and go to what might as well be the moon. So he’s trying to figure out how to get there.


So my friend is trying to listen to what I’m saying, but her mind is too full. “I’m worried about my health insurance,” she says. So she’s covered by Medicaid. So they keep switching around doctors on her. So she’s not sure what’s going on with her care. She’s dying, by the way slowly but surely.


So people want to protest “Obama Care.” So they complain, for ideological reasons. So they rail about the poor not doing enough to take care of themselves. So they rant about inappropriate use of the ER, and why can’t these irresponsible people try a little preventive medicine? So they sit on their high horses and JUDGE. So easy.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

healthcare, homeless, homeless writing, homeless writing group, homelessness, homelessness and the arts, Medicaid coverage, Memphis, Obama care, the homeless, the poor

Comments (6)

  • This has been stewing overnight, Ellen. So compelling. As a Canadian, I’m ever so thankful for publicly funded healthcare, thankful for the free doctor visits for my kids, for me, for my husband, access to specialists and access to decent medications when needed and well run hospitals if necessary. But there are flaws. There are shortages of certain kinds of specialists (because their education is also publicly funded) and an oversupply of others. Family docs are in very short supply. (There’s a funny Canadian movie called “The Grand Seduction” about a small town in Newfoundland that tries to woo a family doc to come and stay.) If you need hip surgery, you will wait a very long time – perhaps a year or more. You will wait for an MRI to confirm you need hip surgery. You will wait for a visit to an Orthopedic Surgeon to tell you need hip surgery and he/she will wait for O.R. time because hospitals are also publicly funded. And the very rich and very impatient will go elsewhere (the States or India or the UK) and PAY for the procedure freeing up the queue for the rest of us. I don’t know what the answer is, maybe some kind of hybrid system, but I am still grateful for publicly funded medicine. In balance I think it is a good thing.

    Thinking of you and your friend.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      So (!) glad you wrote, Suzanne. You bring a whole new perspective to it. We have “long” waits in the US too — if I need to see a dermatologist in Memphis, it will be 6 months to get an appt; if I tell them I think I have a melanoma, they’ll cut it to 2 months — would that be considered a wait in Canada or the norm? This varies by state and practice groups, obviously; I got an appt with the orthopod in New Orleans in 3 weeks. But I’m not aware of any of us well-insured Americans waiting for an MRI or an OR, which feels scary even to type it. I don’t know what to do about physician shortages (don’t get me started on the AMA controlling the number of admissions to med school) and specialty imbalances. I am glad you and your family have access to care, as does mine, flawed as they both may be.

  • I would make you tribune for the poor, but you have already assumed the post and expressed my own anger better than I ever could. Please keep on, telling us what you think of those governors who have refused to expand Medicaid coverage even though the federal government covers the cost

  • Ellen Morris Prewitt

    So (!) I had to look up tribune, Joe. Thanks for the new word. My godchild responded to this post on FB talking about exactly what you are saying: TN and NC and so many other Southern states choosing not to care for the poor for ideological reasons. She’s a great writer and smart, smart.

  • Thank you for helping people to understand this issue. Expansion of health care to everyone is a social justice issue I’ve worked on for a long time. I do appreciate the progress, but hope that the US will go to a single-payer model sooner rather than later.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      What a great issue to work on, Joanne. My husband, too, is a fan of the single payor system. I’m glad, being so familiar with this issue, that you found this post helpful to understanding it.

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