As I’ve seen the number of guards accompanying some of the prisoners sent for cardiac testing rise from 2 to 3 this past month, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the patient-prisoner issue. I like to use the prison system as an example since it’s the least ambiguous “lab specimen.” If we can’t make decisions here, I don’t believe we’ll succeed anywhere.

In prior rants I advocated a revamp of the way we decide to provide healthcare for the jump-suited miscreant crowd. Rather than belabor the point, my bottom line was that the type and intensity of the care (and hence, its expense) should be tied to the severity of the prisoner’s offense. This, of course, would require the injection of the politically incorrect, yea, even dangerous, “value judgment.” It would also necessitate tort reform to avoid clogging the courts and increasing the ranks of bankrupted or jump-suited physicians.

So, in the wake of the widespread recognition of the impending health care crisis brought to light by the high profile health care debate, what do we do? We increase the cost of health care even more for our prisoners here in California. This change follows the institution of more aggressive medical workups (and sometimes less appropriate) for these same individuals, prompted by a crack-down on their treating physicians a couple of years ago for perceived inadequate care. So, we take another step backward as we follow Greece over the economic cliff.

My neck hurts from craning; see you at the bottom.


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