The Insurance Scheme
A recent post here detailed the upcoming plan for Montgomery County, Maryland, to join other Fire/EMS departments in charging those in need of EMS care. All-in-all it was a bit of a love fest as management, labor and the volunteers are all on board with the plan. Money does have a tendency to smooth the way.
Apropos of these fees, there was a story in the news recently about a City of Los Angeles incident where good Samaritans, helping at a car accident, died of electrocution and suffered the apparent double miss fortune of catching a final ride to the hospital, for which, they will be charged.
According to Yahoo, “City fire officials say they do not have the power to circumvent municipal codes and waive the mandatory paramedic fees, even in cases during which a citizen is accidentally injured or killed.”
I said previously that it is those least equipped who wind up getting shafted by such fee schemes: the frail, the elderly, the mentally incompetent. To that list we can now add grieving families.
Frankly, it is nothing more than a government run insurance monopoly. The Fire/EMS department charges you a “premium” in the form of taxes in exactly the same manner as you pay a premium for auto or homeowners insurance, whether you use it or not. Then, if you actually need the “coverage” you are subject to a deductible, in this case the fee.
If Fire/EMS departments are going to be in the business of selling “EMS Insurance” they should invite other providers to bid on the provision of the service to ensure that citizens are receiving the best care for the lowest cost. This will be anathema to some but it is the price to be paid for selling your services. You should be forced to compete for the market share.
Labor should be especially ashamed as they are historically the presumed protectors of the little guy. A. Philip Randolph, the famed labor organizer, said, “The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.” Well, not anymore. Labor is lined up to levy a charge on a service that has already been financed by public revenue.
The plain truth is that health care dollars are in short supply and if those dollars are used to pay for a service that has already been paid for under the guise of “cost recovery”, the “little guy” loses in the short term and everyone loses in the long one. Critically, labor loses the most as they forfeit their commitment to fairness on the altar of faulty and dubious profit, the very thing they say they hate about management.
Sources: Yahoo, Hasbro