health care access


Really? SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden ‘Screwed’ Out Of Health Care?

(Esquire magazine)

(Esquire magazine)

Here’s a bit of a brouhaha that’s sure to fuel newsstand sales of Esquire magazine:

Under the irresistible headline “The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden…Is Screwed,” Esquire Magazine posts here its cover story for March. It begins:

For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives.

But now confusion and controversy is swirling over whether, in fact, the man identified only as “the shooter” will in fact be quite so screwed. NPR’s ‘the two-way’ blog covers the back-and-forth here, including the latest at this writing:

Update at 8:12 p.m. ET. SEAL Is Eligible For Benefits
Stars and Stripes is reporting that all combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
The newspaper also interviews Phil Bronstein, who wrote the Esquire piece. You can visit the Stars and Stripes website to see what he said.

Readers? Perhaps the point here is that we live in a country where it is even possible that a long-serving soldier could lack health care. Whatever your viewpoint, you may get a dark laugh out of this trenchant comment on NPR:

He can write “I killed Osama” on his resume. That is good for any mall cop position in America.

(Hat-tip to Ben Swasey)

Mystery Medicaid Shoppers Coming To Massachusetts?

Columbus Business First reports here:

It can be difficult to line up that first appointment with a new family doctor, but is it harder if you’re on Medicaid, or have a host of chronic ailments?

The federal government is planning a “mystery shopper” approach to find the pinch points in availability of primary care physicians, according to a Federal Register notice.

The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking approval for a study in which researchers will call more than 4,100 doctors’ offices in nine states and seek appointments posing as patients “with a range of medical needs.” Each office will get two calls, one from someone posing as a privately insured patient, and once from a simulated patient on Medicare or Medicaid.

The nine states are Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Anybody want to predict what the “mystery shopper” here in Massachusetts will encounter? I fear it won’t be pretty…

Here’s the Federal Register describing the plan and seeking comment. And here’s another report on the plan, followed by comments.
Hat-tip to my eternal hero, Herald grad Tom Mashberg, for amazing story-spotting.