Video: Did Michelle Obama start a patient-dumping program?

posted at 9:27 am on July 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

While Barack Obama presses for health-care reform, Sean Hannity looks at his wife’s efforts to reform medical care at the University of Chicago Medical Center as its vice-president. In a lengthy segment on last night’s show, Hannity reports on the Urban Health Initiative, a program ostensibly intended to provide the kind of change in health care that President Obama says his program will deliver nationally — fewer emergency room vists, better wellness and prevention care, and lower costs. However, the people in Chicago see the UHI differently. In practice, it looks more like a patient-dumping scheme to avoid dealing with Medicare/Medicaid patients (via HA reader JiangxiDad):

This came up during the presidential campaign, but just as the conventions and running-mate selection picks had the media blinkered. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on it August 23rd, 2008:

Sen. Barack Obama’s wife and three close advisers have been involved with a program at the University of Chicago Medical Center that steers patients who don’t have private insurance — primarily poor, black people — to other health care facilities.

Michelle Obama — currently on unpaid leave from her $317,000-a-year job as a vice president of the prestigious hospital — helped create the program, which aims to find neighborhood doctors for low-income people who were flooding the emergency room for basic treatment. Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, co-owns the firm, ASK Public Strategies, that was hired by the hospital last year to sell the program — called the Urban Health Initiative — to the community as a better alternative for poor patients. Obama’s wife and Valerie Jarrett, an Obama friend and adviser who chairs the medical center’s board, backed the Axelrod firm’s hiring, hospital officials said.

Another Obama adviser and close friend, Dr. Eric Whitaker, took over the Urban Health Initiative when he was hired at U. of C. in October 2007. Whitaker previously had been director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Obama has said he recommended Whitaker for the state job, giving his name to Tony Rezko, who helped Gov. Blagojevich assemble his Cabinet. Rezko, a former fund-raiser for Obama and Blagojevich, was convicted in June on federal corruption charges tied to state deals.

A leading Illinois Democrat, Rep. Bobby Rush, called for a federal investigation into the matter seven weeks ago:

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) is calling on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate allegations that the University of Chicago Medical Center is practicing patient dumping, an illegal act where hospitals divert poor or uninsured patients to other hospitals.

“As an institution that receives federal funds, I am concerned about recent media reports that allege the medical center is turning away and refusing treatment to low-income, uninsured patients,” Rush said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), the committee chairman.

Rush, who called patient dumping “a widespread problem” in American health care, said he might move to lift the hospital’s federal funding if it turns out the allegations are true.

The people of the community seem pretty convinced that UHI intended on keeping poor people out of the UCMC, as these reports and others show.

What I find most interesting about this is that the three people in the White House behind UHI have shown a remarkably low profile on the push for ObamaCare. Could it be that Obama and his staff worry that this will derail the effort, and have kept the trio out of the debate deliberately?

***

Update (Michelle): FYI, I reported on Michelle Obama’s health care horror story you won’t hear about on June 19 and have a detailed section on the patient-dumping scheme in Chapter 2 of Culture of Corruption.


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she uh cut erm costs by making doctors uh not give care that was um unneeded and as I have always said just for uh money….

//Ogabe

we can destroy him with whispers about her “great job”

sven10077 on July 23, 2009 at 9:30 AM

No care for the poor!! Michelle says!

becki51758 on July 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

I remember reading about this. Thank you for bringing it back up.

It’s obvious that both Obamas care about money and power and that is it, period.

Obama’s dismal and unintelligent performance last night revealed he doesn’t know much about health care at all. He seemed to not to have even bothered to do any research to sound minimally competent. To me that was another indication that this is solely about power and nothing else.

INC on July 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

Liberals on Parade!

canopfor on July 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

What I find most interesting about this is that the three people in the White House behind UHI have shown a remarkably low profile on the push for ObamaCare. Could it be that Obama and his staff worry that this will derail the effort, and have kept the trio out of the debate deliberately?

I think it more likely that they didn’t want a repeat of Hillarycare. There are inherent ethical and procedural problems with an unelected individual running national policy campaigns. Ditto if you have somebody who is a political strategist.

More interesting to me is that the filthy liar hasn’t used this example from his own life to highlight what he wants to do for all.

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Don’t forget, then-Senator Obama steered federal money to Michelle’s hospital.

jgapinoy on July 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Yes she can!

The audacity of patient dumping.

Mulligan on July 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Really, organ transplants in the ER?

Or were that that terrible in their staffing skills?

Excuse me doctor, I know this transplant has been scheduled for months, but the ER is busy, can you head down there and cover for a while?

reaganaut on July 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

When this came up during the campaign, I was interested but the story just got lost. It sounded a lot like patient dumping back then.

I only caught the last two minutes of the report on Hannity, but I am glad someone is still on this.

myrenovations on July 23, 2009 at 9:37 AM

I suspect that President Obama kept his wife out of at least public planning and lobbying for his healthcare proposals in order to avoid unfortunate comparisons with the Clintons’ debacle in 1993. However, in this case Michelle Obama has direct experience and a record to look at, and it doesn’t look pretty. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had actual journalists working for the major news outlets?

As for Bobby Rush, I’m sure Obama can keep him in line, probably with the promise of blanket amnesty for any more Panther intimidation at urban polling stations.

jwolf on July 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

The Obama’s hate whitey and blackie?

I’m sure this will change the mind of all the black people who voted for Obama.

fogw on July 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

low-income people who were flooding the emergency room for basic treatment. Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

They don’t do cancer treatments and organ transplants in the emergency room. The above makes no sense.

Blake on July 23, 2009 at 9:40 AM

The Obama’s hate whitey and blackie?

I’m sure this will change the mind of all the black people who voted for Obama.

fogw on July 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

lol

Mulligan on July 23, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Yes she can did!

The audacity of patient dumping.

Mulligan on July 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM

;-)

SouthernGent on July 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Michelle Obama orchestrated a plan to get hospital funding by offering a strategy to route patients without insurance to community clinics that can not provide quality healthcare.

In summary, she worked the system and sold out her race.

sherry on July 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM

That’s how she got those toned arms. Tossing vagrants out the back door. You know how much a vagrant weighs??

Thunderstorm129 on July 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM

This is a shining example of the end result of socialism.

There will be Two Americas, as John “Ambulance and Skirt Chaser” Edwards put it.

One for the POLITICAL elite (ie: the socialist aristocracy)

One for those who pay for the political elite.

Separate and unequal.

wildcat84 on July 23, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Poor people do not get cancer & need transplants? well – they do and as mentioned above that doesn’t happen in the ER.

poppieseeds on July 23, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Michelle Obama part of a program to dump on poor black uninsured people? Pricelss. LOL

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM

It’s difficult to dispute patients ARE receiving better care in distant clinics than @ University of Chicago Medical Center under Queen Obama’s plan. Why? Because the poor didn’t receive ANY care at UCMC.

heroyalwhyness on July 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Michelle Obama — currently on unpaid leave from her $317,000-a-year job as a vice president of the prestigious hospital

Um, people, it isn’t greedy doctors who are the problem. It is greedy health care administrators who are the problem. That $300,000/year salary could add a new doctor and a nurse or two to the hospital.

The Obama’s hate whitey and blackie?

fogw on July 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Must be Dear Leader’s racist white half showing up.

rbj on July 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM

I remember this in the campaign. I don’t think this is necessarily patient dumping, as it is allocating resources better. If people who have no insurance are showing up in the ER for a sore throat, that is using resources in the ER for actual emergencies. Creating medical facilities in the community directs people to where they can best be treated. Not really a bad plan.
RR

ramrants on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

the three people in the White House behind UHI have shown a remarkably low profile on the push for ObamaCare.

crickets

cmsinaz on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Oh my, this is gonna leave a mark.

Better put some ice on it, Barry.

stenwin77 on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Yet another in a loooooonG line of opportunities to say: CAN YOU FREAKING IMAGINE IF A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT’S WIFE DID THIS!!!!!

Rational Thought on July 23, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Poor people do not get cancer & need transplants? well – they do and as mentioned above that doesn’t happen in the ER.

poppieseeds on July 23, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Yeah, only if they are illegal aliens. They get whatever they want or need.

Sporty1946 on July 23, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Oh my, this is gonna leave a mark.

Better put some ice on it, Barry.

stenwin77 on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Sorry, but it won’t. The MSM will not TOUCH this story, cuz if they do the President will say they acted “stupidly” and call them racists. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. This story — and any others that come out about Barry’s wife — ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

Rational Thought on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

This story has legs.

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Hospital officials say such patients hinder their ability to focus on more critically ill patients in need of specialized care, such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

And after we take care of that, we’ll start refusing cancer treatments and organ transplants. Keeping the hospitals empty is how we will keep medical costs down.

db on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

It’s the only way to lower health care costs. Don’t give away health care.

It’s amazing that they think that the solution is to put more people on the payment schedule that they turned down. . . Medicaid and Medicare.

They need to set up clinics and make sure that they are quality enough for the people they think are unworthy of the hospital.

ThackerAgency on July 23, 2009 at 9:50 AM

This came out BEFORE the election and was buried by the State Run media. I am glad that an investigation is now open and I hope she’s exposed for her unmitigated hypocrisy.

Key West Reader on July 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM

It’s amazing really – the tangled web. Obama(s), Blago, Rezko, Jarrett, Axelrod, healthcare, etc., etc., etc.

Oink on July 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Blake on July 23, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Excellent point. Why can’t the “simple” questins be asked.

Cindy Munford on July 23, 2009 at 9:52 AM

As an institution that receives federal funds, I am concerned about recent media reports that allege the medical center is turning away and refusing treatment to low-income, uninsured patients,” Rush said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), the committee chairman.

Sorry, but I just had to laugh at the dangling modifier that converted Bobby Rush into an institution that receives federal funds. It’s Obama who’s an institution receiving federal funds.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on July 23, 2009 at 9:53 AM

As for Bobby Rush, I’m sure Obama can keep him in line, probably with the promise of blanket amnesty for any more Panther intimidation at urban polling stations.

jwolf on July 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM

There’s no love lost between Obama and Rush. Obama attempted to start his national political career by running against Rush in a primary in 2000.

rockmom on July 23, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Actually, this sounds like a good program.

If you show up at the Emergency Room with a persistantly bad cold, it’s ridiculous to treat you there. You should be shuttled to a primary care physician, if you have no other alternative.

To demand that patients like this be treated in the ER, as Rep. Rush is doing, is ridiculous. You’re talking a $1,000+ visit, versus a $150 visit.

Of course, this is exactly the kind of practice that Democrats like Obama demonize, when they can score political points.

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 9:53 AM

I distinctly remember reading that the “GOMERS” (Get Out of My E. R)were given bus fare and directions to another hospital.

bloggless on July 23, 2009 at 9:54 AM

GIve them a pain pill, a Laurel and Hardy handshake and send them on their way. That’s the Michelle way. But a blue pill or a red pill?

bbz123 on July 23, 2009 at 9:54 AM

I remember this in the campaign. I don’t think this is necessarily patient dumping, as it is allocating resources better. If people who have no insurance are showing up in the ER for a sore throat, that is using resources in the ER for actual emergencies. Creating medical facilities in the community directs people to where they can best be treated. Not really a bad plan.
RR

ramrants on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

But I seem to recall that the health clinics were not quite up to par or at least not up to the regular UCMC standards.

I don’t have any problem with having more and more clinics for “not emergency” care so long as they are also quality facilities.

myrenovations on July 23, 2009 at 9:56 AM

“So if hospitals require a $300K lawyer to operate, could that perhaps be contributing to the high cost of health care, Mr. President?”

Barack Obama: “Um, uh, well, look, the puppy!”

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Let them take advil.

unclesmrgol on July 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Creating medical facilities in the community directs people to where they can best be treated. Not really a bad plan.
RR

ramrants on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

If it really works like that. I suspect what happens is that instead of going to those community facilities, people are still using the ER and being “dumped” when they show up there instead of where the hospital wants them to go. The question then becomes one of considering whether the hospital can turn away patients if they offer services at other locations. I’d say no.

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM

They need to set up clinics and make sure that they are quality enough for the people they think are unworthy of the hospital.

ThackerAgency on July 23, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I loved getting sent to a Planned Parenthood in Canada (the equivalent there) for a PAP smear when I had a kidney infection, as it turned out.

alliebobbitt on July 23, 2009 at 9:59 AM

“So if hospitals require a $300K lawyer to operate, could that perhaps be contributing to the high cost of health care, Mr. President?”

Barack Obama: “Um, uh, well, look, the puppy!”

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM

To be fair, she only made $160,000 until Obama won his Senate seat.

myrenovations on July 23, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Because the poor didn’t receive ANY care at UCMC.

heroyalwhyness on July 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Except when roving bands of doctors come around to randomly remove tonsils.

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I got better care in Turkey where pharmacists can write prescriptions. The pill was welcome with a fever and the distinct feeling of having been beaten down my backside with a lead pipe. Thanks, Canada, for running some tests to make sure it wasn’t gonorrhea.

alliebobbitt on July 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Excellent point. Why can’t the “simple” questins be asked.
Cindy Munford on July 23, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Because it would require a simple answer.

elderberry on July 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Referring patients who just need primary care to a clinic that can provide that care, is part of basic triage.

If they’re offered transport and an appointment, that should be reasonable.

If the law requires more than that, then this is another reason why health care costs are exploding in this country.

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Could it be that Obama and his staff worry that this will derail the effort, and have kept the trio out of the debate deliberately?

Could be. I have two more questions:

Is there a more hilariously corrupt group of politicians and crooks than Obama, Axelrod, Richie Daley, and the Chicago Democrat crime organization?

And is there a more hilarious “investigation” scenario than Black Panther mobster Bobby Rush calling for an investigation of the University of Chicago and the Ogabe Mob by Ed Towns?

Jaibones on July 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM

myrenovations on July 23, 2009 at 9:59 AM

I’m sure she doubled her “work” hours at that point.

Can you “work at home” for $300K+ per year? Good deal if you can get it.

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 10:03 AM

I remember right after Obama was elected senator from Illinois, he earmarked a big grant of Federal taxpayer dollars to the hospital where Michelle worked, and, SURPRISE! She got a nice $200,000 raise. A little pay to play? Of course. It’s the Chicago Way.

Big paychecks coming IN, poor uninsureds going OUT. Excellent trade off for the Obamas, it would seem to me. What poor people? Where? I don’t see any…

bradley11 on July 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM

This scandal makes her ass look huge.

Akzed on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

I thought that doctors like medicare patients because they can charge the government high rates and get paid promptly?

golfballs03 on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

This scandal makes her ass look huge.

Akzed on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

…. and his ears.

fogw on July 23, 2009 at 10:10 AM

This story has legs.

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

…and junk in the trunk.

jbh45 on July 23, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Sorry if this was already mentioned, but while he may be keeping a low profile on Obamacare, Axelrod was on Fox & Friends this morning selling the program. (Right around the 8am slot)

ornery_independent on July 23, 2009 at 10:10 AM

If they’re offered transport and an appointment, that should be reasonable.

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Yes and no. It would depend on the medical condition and where they were being transported to. Personally, from a liability standpoint, I’d also worry about what happens if somebody dies enroute to another location.

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

WOW. The wholesome all-american couple is nothing but two filthy crooked hypocritical liars. Sums it up, no?

marklmail on July 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

If people who have no insurance are showing up in the ER for a sore throat, that is misusing resources in the ER meant for actual emergencies. Creating medical facilities in the community directs people to where they can best be treated. Not really a bad plan.
ramrants on July 23, 2009 at 9:46 AM

A good point that I fixed up just a little for you. If you go the ER with a sore throat, you will be seen as low priority and wait at least 4 hours, whereas you might get seen quite quickly at a community clinic.

Also, even with insurance coverage, any competent ER triage nurse will put a sore throat patient at the bottom of the priority list.

marybel on July 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Q. How do you get toned and fabulous arms?

A. Tossing those without private insurance into cabs.

Thunderstorm129 on July 23, 2009 at 10:13 AM

This story has legs.

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

I wonder if it has anything to do with the fired Secret Service guy?

SouthernGent on July 23, 2009 at 10:14 AM

golfballs03 on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

No, docs get paid much less for Medicare patients, then must charge more to insurance companies to break even.

Here’s another gem: a doc can’t charge you less than Medicare gets paid for the same procedure. Say you go to your doc to have a splinter removed from your foot and want to pay cash because you don’t have insurance; he can’t just charge you $15, he has to charge what Medicare would’ve paid for it – which might be $20.

Meeicare/Medicare establish the floor for fees rather than letting the market do it. Hence, medical costs sprialing outa control.

Akzed on July 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

NYT – Jackie Kennedy made throwing vagrants out of hospitals popular.

marklmail on July 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

This story has legs.

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

You’d like to think so, but the media is now too busy chasing the Harvard professor story and the birth certificate truther story.

Honestly, I don’t know how to respond to the Harvard prof story except to say WTF and why isn’t the media doing a JTP job on the 911 caller–my guess is that she’s some liberal, blue-haired old lady with an Obama sticker on her car–who’s paranoid about blacks in her neighborhood!

But why was a question blown on this issue with Obama when the press ought to be asking him about his wife’s role in this nonsense? If she didn’t get a raise form $121K to $317K for securing a $1 million earmark from her husband for her employer, then she must have earned her raise with this patient shell game.

BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, co-owns the firm, ASK Public Strategies, that was hired by the hospital last year to sell the program

If this were Palin instead of Obama there would be a half dozen ethics complaints.

gwelf on July 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM

For the record, I send Ed lots of emails, maybe more than he wants, but I can’t recall sending him this story. So my one minute of fame comes to an end.

JiangxiDad on July 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Hannity should pound this story nightly. Interview poor blacks who were turned away from Michelle’s hospital. OUCH

marklmail on July 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM

This scandal makes her ass look huge.

Akzed on July 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM

It was huge long before that.

Sasha and Malia suitors, take note.

BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM

the press ought to be asking him about his wife’s role in this nonsense? If she didn’t get a raise form $121K to $317K for securing a $1 million earmark from her husband for her employer, then she must have earned her raise with this patient shell game. BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Oh my gosh he’d wet his pants. Can you imagine him getting sucha question from his buds in the WH prss corpse? “Mr. President, how come your wife got a $200k raise as soon as you got elected? And what did that raise have to do with govt grants flowing to her hospital?”

His head would literally explode.

Akzed on July 23, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Isn’t it amazing how freely these a-holes flow back and forth between public and private entities, pushing poor people around and raking in huge amounts of cash and power?

scr00s on July 23, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Anybody else noticing the similarities between this administration and the wonderful government under Robespierre France?

Off with their heads.

Sapwolf on July 23, 2009 at 10:21 AM

You’d like to think so, but the media is now too busy chasing the Harvard professor story and the birth certificate truther story.

Isn’t that the truth.

One of the front page headlines on my loveley non-partisan ISP (Comcast) is a link to a video of Michelle’s “new do”.

Sadly, many more people will notice she has a new haircut than hear about this.

The wife of a senator, a senator who is a self proclaimed man of the people with community roots, gets a huge raise at the same time her hubby steers federal funds to her employer! :Yawn:

This same wife starts a program to turn away the folks hubby claims to champion. :yawn:

The first lady has a new haircut. WOW! AWESOME. like, NO WAY, That is huge news!

reaganaut on July 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM

In some states they have small satellite community emergent medical care facitlities…we used to call it them “Doc-in-a-Boxes.” The doctors are qualified and skilled. Even insured people use them for relatively minor problems to avoid the long waits at the hospital ER.

The “boxes” are a great alternative to the ERs in a large city hospital. I got kicked in the head by a horse and was stitched up and good to go in about 45 minutes. At the big city hospital, heart attacks, car wrecks, and gunshots always get priority.

marybel on July 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Well, I am shocked I tell you, shocked!!! These wonderful, tingle up my leg, people are really crooks? You don’t say!

Frances on July 23, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Poor blacks in our urban areas have basically a few simple functions in life accroding to the Dems:

1) Get pregnant and have an abortion thereby increasing the blood revenue of Planned Parenthood and helping them meet their revenue and profit targets, plus continue to do the bidding of rich white feminists.

2) Vote Democratic at all elections.

3) Join ACORN and help make up voters and steal elections for the Dems.

4) Never question black leaders in the community or blow the whistle on their massive corruption.

5) NEVER NEVER question rich white Dems and STAY on the plantation FOREVER.

Sapwolf on July 23, 2009 at 10:26 AM

highhopes on July 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Agree, but that’s exactly the problem Obamacare doesn’t address.

“From a liability standpoint”, if you offer healthcare, you’re going to get sued multiple times, whether you offer good or bad care. Plan on it.

Physicians spend from $50 to $100 per patient on malpractice insurance and Obama wonders why oh why are our health care costs so high?

If Obama truly wanted to bring down the cost of health care, he’d tell the lawyers that funded his campaign to take a hike. But he won’t do that. So there really is no chance that his “plan” will reduce health care costs.

NoDonkey on July 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM

I know I’m probably too stupid to figure this out correctly but if you have a problem with people using the emergency room for non-emergency room illnesses that a primary doctor could handle, $150 vs $1000 that’s been noted, then WHY not set up a primary care clinic AT the hospital that those patients could go to. Seems like a clinic of doctors would PAY for a steady stream of patients or the hospital could make the profit.

Jeff from WI on July 23, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Did anyone else notice when Obama was talking about how doctors do a tonsilectomy on a patient instead of treating for allergies, he mentioned how doctors are just out to make a buck with a procedure? That is probably the stupidest thing he ever said. A doctor risking the life of a child with an operation-bleeding/anesthia/infection, just for a couple hundred dollars.

Frances on July 23, 2009 at 10:29 AM

It makes a lot of sense to send general patients to neighborhood clinics, people in need of primary care don’t belong in the ER.

Then they reported that the hospital was busing patients to other hospitals.

And what to make of this?

And rather than dump patients on other health care facilities, Whitaker said the initiative actually is improving their bottom lines.

“We were taking general patients away from Mercy Hospital, Michael Reese, and they were financially at risk,” Whitaker said. “We harmed other hospitals without knowing we harmed other hospitals.”

They cherry-pick the patients they’ll take and send the rest to other ERs, claiming that it will help the others’ bottom lines? Something doesn’t smell right.

obladioblada on July 23, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Obama’s dismal and unintelligent performance last night revealed he doesn’t know much anything about health care at all anything.

INC on July 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

FIFY

jana on July 23, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Nothing new about up scale hospitals “redirecting” patients because Medicaid pay less and late assuming they even are on public insurance.

amr on July 23, 2009 at 10:33 AM

She worked at a private hospital. She worked to get recipients of public aid moved to public hospitals. My mother did a very similar job as an RN administrator for a nice private hospital.

Public aid recipients get very wily about working the system and getting themselves admitted to swanky private hospitals (most frequently by showing up in labor at the ER, when they were assigned to the public hospital down the street, or otherwise coming in through the ER). They know damn good and well they are supposed to seek care from the public institution, but hospitals are legally constrained to take women in labor and ER patients regardless.

If private hospitals want to survive, they can’t allow themselves to be ovverrun by indigent patients. There are public hospitals in the US that get tax dollars to provide sufficient (but not swanky) care for the poor.

Or do conservatives now want to punish private hospitals for working to preserve themselves financially?

This is just like the conservative bleating that medicare won’t pay for heart surgery for 100 year olds. It’s not the government’s job to provide cadillac medical care for recipients of public aid. Period.

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM

You go Bobby Rush! My favorite liberal D. Unabashed, uncompromisable, and knows a fake when he smells one. If you ever wonder why Obama simply reads his teleprompter, you missed a classic Chicago Tonight segment when Bobby thrashed Barack, making him the stuttering, ill prepared, rich elitist fool that night, and beating him handily in the primary. Obama has never forgotten that. Neither has Rush.

Go Bobby go!

MarkT on July 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Regarding Obama’s remarks about doctors doing unnecessary tonsilectomies and such, there was a skin doctor here a couple years ago who was telling patients that they had skin cancer (melanoma) and that he’d have to operate. As the story goes, he was busted by a fake skin biopsy, which was actually bubble gum on a lab slide.

He’s in jail now. The system worked in that case.

ornery_independent on July 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM

absolutely she did, this was one of my biggest ‘issues’ during our primaries and all the health care fighting
Mechelle was the ‘face’ of the dumping. it is clearly aptient dumping. If she cares as much for America at large as she did for the poverty stricken people of color of Chicagos South Side, well we know where we are, she has an alligator purse and she wants my health care taken away to give it to folks she turned away herself to make six figures large…

ginaswo on July 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

and that goes for Barry selling out low income housing to Rezko too, these people are utter hypocrites

ginaswo on July 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Sasha and Malia suitors, take note.

BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM

leave those precious baby girls out of this! or next you you know they will be going after Palin’s daughters.

Ghoul aid on July 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

***

Public aid recipients get very wily about working the system and getting themselves admitted to swanky private hospitals (most frequently by showing up in labor at the ER, when they were assigned to the public hospital down the street, or otherwise coming in through the ER). They know damn good and well they are supposed to seek care from the public institution, but hospitals are legally constrained to take women in labor and ER patients regardless.

***

This is just like the conservative bleating that medicare won’t pay for heart surgery for 100 year olds. It’s not the government’s job to provide cadillac medical care for recipients of public aid. Period.

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM

These were Obama voters. If they’re so wily, why are they prosecuted for gaming the system? Why isn’t Obama calling out his supporters for this kind of thing? If I recall, he said fraud and abuse were part of the two-thirds of the savings that will pay for his plan. Hey, cite all the white-collar examples of fraud and abuse, but cite this kind of thing as well then. This is like the clowns driving up to foodbanks in Cadillacs for free food.

BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

This is just like the conservative bleating that medicare won’t pay for heart surgery for 100 year olds. It’s not the government’s job to provide cadillac medical care for recipients of public aid. Period.

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM

So what you essentially support is a three to four tiered health care system where if you’re rich, you get whatever you want. If you’re poor, you get thrown out in the street to die.
what you’re saying is that instead of providing care to poor people who simply cannot afford a CABG, the hospitals, doctors, etc should ignore their vows to care for all regardless of ability to pay and shove them out with a painkiller. What you’re insinuating is that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, etc should only care about their bottom line and not their higher calling to care for the ill.
Hope you never get sick and need a six figure liver transplant, my darling. You’d be dead.

mjk on July 23, 2009 at 10:49 AM

i think if we will only allow all the illegals to have good health care, everything will be solved.

hee hee

kelley in virginia on July 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM

uhm no funky chicken it is THE LAW that ANY facility that accepts federal money ie Medicare and assorted other funds and tax deductions which UofC gets out the axx, that they treat ER patients EMTALA is the law, period.

UofC is getting the money AND the tax breaks and turning AWAY poor people, period.

It is patient dumping period.

and for the woman who bashes Big Dawg for reforming welfare with Newt to rant and rave about his bad policies and then dump poor black people, like the girl who was frakkin MAULED by a pitbull and given a shot and sent away to go elsewhere and get SEWN UP

only at UofC politically connected with MEchelle Obama do they get away with it

other hospitals would be fined, sued and stopped

ginaswo on July 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM

OT: Where are the trolls? Where’s AnninCA? Did she get paid in CA IOU’s and refuse to come in to work? Don’t tell me Axelrod is starting to tire too, along with POTUS and TOTUS.

JiangxiDad on July 23, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Jeff from WI on July 23, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Why should the hospital spend millions of dollars to establish an urgent care clinic for indigent patients when many such facilities already exist in Chicago?

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Why yes . . . and Michelle’s health care initiative was so successful that now her husband is going to puke the entire disgusting aberration on the entire country. The real sickness is in this leftist government.

rplat on July 23, 2009 at 10:55 AM

This is like the clowns driving up to foodbanks in Cadillacs for free food.

BuckeyeSam on July 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

you really expect an inner-city democrat politician to talk about welfare recipients’ gaming the system?

they still drag out Clarence Thomas’s criticicisms of his “welfare queen” sister every time they want to savage him in the press, after all

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 10:56 AM

The ruling class is on display and if we are not careful it will become this country future.But be careful if you or i say anything about what these people do or say we will be branded a racist.

thmcbb on July 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM

This is old news — it came up during the campaign (but of course the mainstream media never covered it, so it wasn’t ‘news’). I’m glad that it’s finally getting more coverage.

rmgraha on July 23, 2009 at 10:58 AM

I know I’m probably too stupid to figure this out correctly but if you have a problem with people using the emergency room for non-emergency room illnesses that a primary doctor could handle, $150 vs $1000 that’s been noted, then WHY not set up a primary care clinic AT the hospital that those patients could go to. Seems like a clinic of doctors would PAY for a steady stream of patients or the hospital could make the profit.

Jeff from WI on July 23, 2009 at 10:29 AM

I agree. The story needs some depth added to it.

1)What percentage of those low income patients were from the SURROUNDING community?
2)Did those patients walk to the hospital or did they have a car? (they are being bussed to diff hospitals so I am assuming that they walked or were given rides by friends)
3)Are the hospitals that were forced to take these patients in BETTER or WORSE financial condition now because the reimbursement rate of Medicare didn’t cover the treatment? This one is huge because if they are failing now with these patients how many hospitals are going to go under when we are all on government health insurance and they dictate the reimbursement rate?

journeyintothewhirlwind on July 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM

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