“Medicaid doesn’t pay for couple’s heartbreak”

Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje
San Antonio Express-News  
February 17, 2013 


When a woman receiving Medicaid assistance was pregnant with quadruplets, the state turned down her request for aid for a fetal reduction, which was recommended by her doctor. Two of the fetuses would have been aborted, increasing the chances the mother would survive and have two babies with fewer short-term and long-term health problems. It would have cost $4,000, but the state, bound by its rules about abortion, doesn’t automatically pay for it. Denied the aid and not informed she could appeal, the woman gave birth to four babies prematurely: two died days afterward and two had to spend weeks in a neo-natal intensive care unit at an average cost of $7,000 a day for both. The mother’s hospital bill plus the care over the years for the two babies could cost the Medicaid program, partly funded by the state taxpayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even $1 million.

At the time reporter Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje wrote this story, Gov. Rick Perry and many legislators were speaking out against the high cost of the Medicaid program, saying the president’s changes to it would eventually bankrupt the state. Texas eventually rejected the federal government’s offer of more Medicaid money. The story was a vivid example of how policy, politics and medical practice can collide, regardless of the consequences for one mother or the taxpayers.

LINK to story online.

Submitted by Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje.

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