(Fort Lauderdale, FLA) A Hollywood woman who was dropped from Medicaid coverage while needing a bone marrow transplant is finally getting the coverage and treatment she needs to stay alive.
Diana Smith is battling a rare form of Leukemia and needs the transplant to survive. She managed to raise money to pay for it thanks to her friends and the community, but then last week she found out her Medicaid coverage was dropped – putting her operation on hold.
Smith had gone through six months of radiation and chemotherapy — one week out of every month. She is in remission and had a donor for a transplant; being in remission is a prerequisite for the transplant.
But her hopes of receiving the transplant were dashed in March, when she says, the Social Security Administration contacted her –without her soliciting it — and told her that her three year-old son was entitled to receive Social Security disability payments. Even though she didn’t ask for it, she signed the form and received her son’s first check.
In April, Medicaid canceled her universal health care policy because her income level had risen with her son’s payments – making her ineligible for the insurance program.
The problem is Jackson Memorial Hospital could not provide the procedure because the risk is too high. The universal policy from Medicaid helps shield the hospital from liability in this kind of case. Without it, they are subject to liability issues.
Even though Smith offered to cancel her son’s disability benefits, she was told it’s too late.
“She’s gone through six months worth of radiation and chemo, her body can’t take anymore. If they don’t allow her to have this transplant coming up right now next week, they’re in effect signing her death warrant,” said her friend Tom Noonan.
“I want to live to see my son grow up and get on with my life,” Smith told CBS4’s Ted Scouten.
After hearing the CBS4 report, State Sen. Dave Aronberg said he was prepared to take action over the weekend. Social Security officials also started looking into the case to make the surgery happen.
Since the CBS4 News report first aired last Friday, several lawmakers jumped in. Late Monday afternoon Jackson Memorial Hospital confirmed Smith will have her surgery later this week after all.
A caller on the Rush Limbaugh show pointed out:
CALLER: For 20 years I’ve been working in the Medi-Cal, Medicare veterans benefit field, and the story you were telling earlier is not an isolated event. That happens, has happened hundreds of times in my career.
RUSH: You mean the government will call, solicit Social Security in this case, Social Security supplemental payment, putting the patient above the eligibility line and losing her coverage from the government, Medicaid?
CALLER: Because they’re different programs, people have no idea that one impacts the other. So they think that they’re gonna go out and in this case she thinks she’s helping her son, and in helping her son she finds out that she loses Medi-Cal. We have people denied organ transplants. We’ve had people die while waiting for medical care.
RUSH: From the government?
CALLER: Right now the VA takes a year to get people medical care in some cases. This is not new. I’ve been telling people for years that in effect — I know it’s not technically correct — but the death panels already exist because we have government bureaucrats somewhere sitting in an office who are making health care decisions and life-and-death decisions for people, and they don’t know anything about what’s going on.
RUSH: Well, do you think it’s possible this woman was genuinely tricked, that Social Security called her up to get her to take the supplemental benefits precisely to disqualify her from Medicaid payment for her organ transplant?
CALLER: I can’t say that for a certainty because I wasn’t there, but let me tell you, I’ve seen nefarious activities happen all the time in which workers don’t tell people, “If you do this it will impact that.” We see that all the time.
We see it with IRAs, we see it with pension plans, we see it with homes, we see it with all kinds of stuff where people are given incorrect or very misleading information.
Just wait and see what happens if/when ObamaCare kicks in.