It is no secret that primary care physicians and specialists in large numbers deny care to Medicaid patients. They claim that they cannot afford to see this group. Insurers, patients, and the medical societies tolerate this situation.
It’s just as bad in the Big Apple as it is in the aina of Hawaii. A recent article in the NY Times put the situation in perspective for me.
“The taxi lurched away from the curb in Midtown Manhattan, leaving behind a black family of three who had flagged it down. The driver told them he was off duty and then picked up two white women 25 feet away and drove away.
“The judge ruled that the driver refused to transport the family on the basis of their race and color violating a section of city human rights law that protects equal access to public accommodations and fined the cabbie $25,000.”
This ruling made a splash in the NY Times on August 8, 2015. At the same time, most private dermatologists in New York City do not see Medicaid patients. How is this not discrimination too? Yet, the complicated Medicaid credentialing regulations allow physicians to abandon poor patients with inferior insurance coverage and consign them to emergency rooms, Medicaid mills and public clinics.
It’s strange that a family being denied transport in a taxicab can outrage us, but we turn a blind eye to a large segment of our society that is refused competent caring health care. It is also ironic that a cabdriver can be fined for this act of discrimination; while sanctimonious physicians get a pass.
See: Cherry Picking in the ‘Aina: Inequalities of Access to Dermatologic Care in Hawai‘i