I believe you missed an opportunity in the Jan. 16 article, Woman needing transplant dies after Jackson declines transfer, to highlight the impact that the failure to expand Medicaid under Obamacare is having on thousands of sick and uninsured in Florida. This is but one of many tragic stories that could have been prevented had the governor and the Florida Legislature agreed to accept federal funds to expand its Medicaid program to include low wage earners, such as the Marquezes, who do not qualify for regular Medicaid because of income limits.
By the time Jackson Memorial Hospital was asked to accept and evaluate this patient for lung transplant she was already in the terminal stages of the disease process. It’s a chronic condition that takes years to reach that point.
JMH can only do so much to provide care for the indigent population of South Florida. It places our health system in a conundrum: how to provide care for the few extremely ill while simultaneously attending to the needs of other uninsured patients with less extreme conditions, but who have much better chances of long-term survival.
The unfortunate situation highlighted in the article is but one of many such stories we see every month at our Miami Transplant Institute organ transplant candidate committee meetings. It is in those meetings where our entire team debates at length the medical, financial and ethical issues concerning the listing of candidates for organ transplantation.
The larger issue here is that as a nation we are failing our citizens by not creating a system that provides access for all its citizens to healthcare. We fail to do so when all developed nations and even many not so developed nations do provide such coverage for all its citizens, and that is a crying shame.
Ernesto A. Pretto Jr, professor and chief, Division of Transplant Anesthesia, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami