Skip to main content

John Kraintz and the issue of homeless healthcare

John Kraintz
John Kraintz, Sacramento's locally famous homeless person, was in the news, yet again.  But this time, SafeGround isn't the topic, it's the man's health.

An inside story in this week's Sacramento News & Review, "State of emergency," tells us that Kraintz was diagnosed as having a ruptured softball-sized cancerous tumor, that resulted in surgery that removed his gallbladder and part of his pancreas and colon.  A regime of chemotherapy is in the offing for him.

It's a sad state of affairs, and I certainly root for John to beat back the cancer, and to feel healthy.

But I post this news for another reason, too:  I am a little bummed by matters of health care expense that come up in the article.

For starters, if anyone comes to be as ill as Kraintz, he is going to run up a very big hospital bill.  Kraintz's bill at Sutter General was $138,938 , we're told.

Was Kraintz's bill exeptionally high because he is homeless, and thus necessarily made negligent of getting check-ups or prompt care?  Probably.  The article suggests that's the case, without documenting it.  The subheading of the article is "Sacramento's homeless often rely on emergency rooms for their medical care.  It's an expensive and dangerous system."

But I would contend that the largest part of what makes homeless medical care seem especially expensive is how the accounting for medical costs in the healthcare field are determined.  Emergency-room costs are artificially accounted for in a way to make them high. This is so to make non-regular users of a hospital's services pay more than those who are members of the hospital's provider service.

It's just like what you see in any city:  Tourists are artificially targetted to pay more than citizens who live there.  Why?  Because tourists won't stick around to complain and can't influence things, easily, by using other services.  Tourists get stuck with hotel-room taxes, taxi taxes, air-flight taxes, and high and extra charges on just about all else.

Kraintz, you see, is effectively a "tourist" at Sutter General, so he gets stuck with a bill artificially made especially high.  And there's nothing to be done about it.

But, then, all medical services provided to uninsured indigents are artificially costed out such that they are higher that what others would pay.  This is so such that the special-case providers can better cover their expenses by billing the government for more for what they provide.

It's all accounting hocus-pocus.  It's understandable, and not quite chicanery, but, then again, it is chicanery.

Ulitimately, the cure for all the nonesense is Universal Healthcare, which is in the pipeline and will be put in place, eventually, if the Republicans and Tea Partiers don't block it.   Universal healthcare will allow homeless people to get regular check-ups that will forestall some expensive very serious medical ailments.  And it will help homeless people to just generally feel better such that they are better enabled to find their way out of their homeless circumstance.  With universal healthcare, accounting trickery won't be incentivized.

Plus, we will at last, after 220 years, be meeting the constitutional mandate "to promote the general Welfare."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

More Homeless Hate from Marcos Breton

There was a long spell a handful of years ago when Marcos Breton said something so fully ridiculous in one of his hateful screeds against homeless folk that it appeared to be very apparent he had been taken off the Homeless Beat by his superiors. Unhappily, after a few months, Breton was again writing disparaging columns about homeless folk

In today's Bee [3/5/17], Breton has written one of his longest columns. Online, it is titled "The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade
"
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/marcos-breton/#storylink= It goes on for days. The message, essentially, is this: Homeless people poop; they're getting a great deal of what they want from the overmuch-helpful mayor; and business people proximate to Chavez Park are made miserable by the forever-disgusting homeless that are there in great number.

O.K. Let's get into all this a bit. Except in Breton's mind, homeless pe…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self What is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "Cécile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…