Is this right?

When the doors opened at 6am at least 300 people were standing in line. A vast convention centre in Baltimore had been transformed into a giant temporary free medical clinic. Word had spread among the city’s working poor.

There were military veterans and a large number of homeless people. Others in the queue had jobs in the digital economy, driving for Uber or working in warehouses for Amazon. Some couldn’t see; many had crumbling teeth. None had insurance that would cover their treatment.

Military veterans get health care from the Veterans Administration. You know, government run, free at the point of use, health care.

28 comments on “Is this right?

  1. The homeless often claim to be military veterans. It makes for a softer touch and more handouts.

  2. I thought in the US if you had cash primary care qas quite affordavle I have seen $65 quote.The VA does cover Vets and Baltimore is large enough for a VA presence but there care isn’t always the greatest and they have qaiting lists.

    Homeless would have Mediaid and have no problem accessing care in Maryland for the same reason they don’t in the hospital I work in.

    We get the homeless out of ED straight away because the frighten the horses. If the are admitted it creats a huge burden to clean them and ajy facilities so we try to discharge to the OPD in a couple of hours.

  3. The VA has a pretty poor reputation. But I don’t expect the journalist did anything journalisty about checking the claims of those who said they were veterans.

  4. I think its evidence of my theory that as society becomes more and more complex, and requires more and more brain power to navigate ones way through, and make a success of life, more and more people will drop through the cracks, and even be unable to access the services the State makes available for free, because to do so will require more organisational skills than they possess. So when a chance arrives to just turn up somewhere and get your medical needs dealt with there and then occurs there will be plenty of takers, because they can’t face the bureaucratic nature of getting the free healthcare they could have anyway.

    I would also predict that despite a lot of people turning up for an event like this, if any of them have issues that require longer term care, or repeat appointments at hospitals (thus requiring documentation etc etc) those people will fail to keep those appointments.

  5. Bloke in Italy

    Depends what you want eye-wise. I have just had a number of procedures done on my eyes. I went privatre at first because of some urgency, but the private consultant said that I was eligible for fast-track NHS treatment and referred me to the hospital next door. I cannot praise them enough for their speed and quality of treatment.
    Spectacles, I guess, are a different matter although all eye-tests at your local opticians are NHS and ( for me ) free.

  6. Bloke in Italy – my father in law had cataracts on both eyes. At the age of 84 he was referred to a hospital in a nearby city and had one eye done under general anaesthetic – required due to his medical issues. That’s despite reluctance of doctors to use general on old patients. You or I would likely have such done under a local.

    The other eye he was booked in to get done but was in another hospital for another issue when appointment time arrived.
    He had dental care on the NHS for over half his life, he had pretty good eye care on the NHS.
    I moan about how the NHS treated him in hospital – but not about his eye care. Referral from GP to getting operation done on one eye was about 12 weeks.

  7. The NHS has been good with my eyes except for one episode decades ago. Dental is different: my NHS practice went private suddenly one summer. (Thank you, Mr Blair.) I persevered with them for a while and then swapped to a practice where I wouldn’t be seeing a different dentist every visit. It costs the earth though.

  8. The NHS has been good with my eyes except for one episode decades ago. Dental is different: my NHS practice went private suddenly one summer. (Thank you, Mr Blair.) I persevered with them for a while and then swapped to a practice where I wouldn’t be seeing a different dentist every visit. It costs the earth though.

    @Jim: persuasive theory. I add to “requires more and more brain power to navigate ones way through” that one also needs more and more patience, persistence, and energy.

  9. P.S. One consequence of being ill is that one probably lacks intelligence, patience, persistence, and energy, so that the complex bureaucratisation of health care is a particular bugger.

  10. Yes, they do. Shockingly, the VA is also not very good, with the result that many veterans suffer unnecessarily:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/10/11/va-conceals-shoddy-care-and-health-workers-mistakes/739852001/

    They said Thomas Franchini drilled the wrong screw into the bone of one veteran. He severed a critical tendon in another. He cut into patients who didn’t need surgeries at all. Twice, he failed to properly fuse the ankle of a woman, who chose to have her leg amputated rather than endure the pain.

    That single payer healthcare tho.

  11. Seems like every second homeless person in the US claims to be a veteran.

    I’ve noticed this has started to spread to London unfortunately.

  12. I’ve had the same dentist since I was born and have never seen anybody else. She’s retiring this year. I have my fingers crossed that since she sold her practice to a partnership and became a partner about ten years ago that the young whippersnapper taking me on from next year will work out. He’ll have my 50 years experience of my own teeth to overcome if he tries radically changing anything.

  13. How much care you get from the VA system depends on how disabled you are as a result of your military service. If you got out in good health and got sick later, you’re not eligible for VA care.

  14. Military veterans get health care from the Veterans Administration. You know, government run, free at the point of use, health care.

    Which goes a long way in explaining why veterans prefer going to a free clinic than going to a VA clinic.

    I once escorted my father to a VA hospital in Northern Ohio. Let’s just say it was Third World – both in staffing and facilities – and leave it at that.

  15. The Baltimore VA has a bad reputation. I could see veterans in Baltimore turning elsewhere for healthcare.

    Whether it actually happened or not is a different question.

  16. Bloke in Italy.

    I got good eye care on the NHS other than the consultant saw was very off hand, I was discussed as “this guy” as if I wasn’t there.
    Our dentist is NHS and has been fantastic for over 20 years.
    The NHS has quite literally saved my life on two occasions and has repaired me on several others.
    Mind you the public health in Baltimore also saved my life once, but that was over 35 years ago

  17. From chatting with my Dad and his wife, both retired NHS employees, I think the difference with dentists is that they are all private entities that take patients then bill the NHS, so you avoid the single employer model that seems to plauge a lot of nationalised industries.

  18. @jgh, October 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I think the difference with dentists is that they are all private entities that take patients then bill the NHS

    You are correct.

  19. 93.78% of the attendees saw the word free, went along on a reflex impulse, then bullshitted their way from there.

  20. Mind you, the tosser who wrote the article obviously had an axe to grind. Why mention who they worked for? To try and infer that people working for Uber and Amazon are more likely to get sick?

    People who work for the Times obviously live for ever. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s people who OWN the Times.

  21. jgh – yes we have the same model for GP practices. Which have all been private many years now, mostly partnerships and limited companies.

  22. “Military veterans get health care from the Veterans Administration. You know, government run, free at the point of use, health care.”

    Not exactly.

    Veterans with service related medical conditions get that free healthcare. Veterans who have retired/transfered to the reserve can get it – for a heavily subsidized fee (it costs me something like $200/yr for my premium – and it doesn’t cover dental).

    Veterans who’ve served less than 20 don’t get access unless they have a service related injury.

    And there’s the whole ‘where do you live’ issue. For me, the nearest VA hospitals are 250 miles away. For a lot of stuff they wanted me to travel *not* to the nearest ones (in Phoenix or San Diego) but to Tucson – which is a 4+ hour drive each way. I eventually got that cleared up, but for a year I had to drive to San Diego and back for a 30 minute consult and blood draw.

  23. According to the VA’s 2015 Analysis of Death Sources, 238,657 Vets died while waiting for the VA to decide whether to accept them for treatment.

  24. Agammamon: But let’s look on the bright side. A 5’4″ lady who twisted her back a quarter of the way through that first enlistment in logistics gets full care for the rest of her life. As long as she’s being taken care of, who cares about serious combat vets?

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