Opinion: Alaska may as well have approved the death sentence

Opinion: Alaska may as well have approved the death sentence

The state is refusing to pay for my daughter’s care.

  • By James Studley
  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:00am
  • Opinion

Here is the current mindset of the state of Alaska that passed the buck of responsibility to insurance evaluators (whose office in Washington) on what is an eligible medical expense to be paid for by Medicaid and who should receive care for their existing medical circumstance in life.

On Friday, the state made the determination that our daughter was not eligible for any further medical care in Providence Hospital in Anchorage and to back date that financial responsibility of care to April 29. It took 11 days to deliver the non-eligibility determination for her care. The state has said that she (and now we) are the responsible party for her continued care when they back dated payment for services received.

This decision was made and Alaska understood that she had not eaten or taken any nutrients other than fluid (which is water with electrolyte additives and vitamins) for her first 10 days of hospitalization (I guess not being able to eat or swallow food isn’t important). She did not receive any solid nutrients until May 4 when a feeding tube was placed in her nose to her stomach, so giving her life-saving nutrients isn’t covered when you’re in the hospital on Medicaid?

Our daughter is 26, blind from birth, hearing impaired from chemotherapeutic treatment for optic glioma, with her right side paralyzed from a stroke 15 years ago. She could not swallow on April 29 or walk or talk, yet the state insurance evaluators made the determination that she should not be in Providence Hospital and should be moved to a lower level care facility?

I wonder where this facility exists that has the capability of utilizing this medical care she needs to stay alive and be safe in her recovery process. Please note, there isn’t a lower care unit in this state anywhere that could care for her, yet the insurance company evaluators (who already know this information) appear to care less.

What’s this all about really? Yes, the state is refusing to pay for her care because it is not a covered expense under her Medicaid Waiver program offered (so they say). Not being capable of talking, walking or swallowing is considered an elective element for recovery from a seizure and not covered by Medicaid, unbelievable but apparently true.

So where has Alaska gone as a society which allows the most vulnerable and least capable human beings to be selectively chosen as social outcasts and denied medical treatment. If this is where we are now it will only be a matter of a few years that we will make determinations at birth who lives and who dies in Alaska society.

I know we can do better as the very word “human” has its basis from the Latin root humanity, meaning “human nature, kindness.” It is not human nature to be selectively killing others nor is it “kind” by any standard.

Nearly every single life species on earth runs from deaths grip in most every instance except when it is a natural event unfolding. Life is our blessing, the gift we all cherish and we should do what ever possible to protect that precious gift we have received.

I find this instance we were handed on Friday repugnant and a disgraceful act of cowardice dumped off on the loving caring people of Alaska in hospitals like Providence and Bartlett.


• James Studley resides in Haines. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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