Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ER = Endless Returns

I'm fairly certain that when the founding fathers laid the framework for this nation that they didn't envision folks that would spend a considerable amount of time looking for loopholes in the system and trying to find ways to take advantage of the generosity that is offered and afforded to all people in this country. A reasonable thought, mind you. You don't want to think that there are some "people" out there who are not content with what is offered to them enough to the point where they actually DO something THEMSELVES to change it and instead choose to take advantage of what is offered to them, usually at the expense of those who are offering it in the first place. Nice way to say "thank you", eh?

Case in point would be the tale of a one Ricky Alardo as told by the The New York Post. It would seem that Ricky (who calls himself Ricky Ricado probably because Ricky the Bum isn't quite as flamboyant) is without a home, but IS with vodka! That's nothing new, but what WAS new to me was how Ricky manages to land himself a free meal and a place to sleep. He calls 911.

What now?

Correct. According to the NY Post, "...four or five times a week (he) phones 911" and then the ambulance shows up to "chauffeur him to the hospital for a free meal and a warm place to sleep." And it's all free and clear for ol' Ricky because his nearly nightly getaways are at the "...courtesy of taxpayers who fund his Medicaid benefits." What in the hell is wrong with people?

Ricky Retardo is 53. For a larger scope of how often he has been abusing the system, we have a quote from a medic who if familiar with him and his antics. He says, "When Ricky passes on, I'll probably even go to his funeral. I've seen him almost every day for the last 13 years." Oh. My. God.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not like Ricky Retardo isn't appreciative. According to the NY Post "An inebriated Alardo lauded the medics last week, saying they "treat me like a king." " Hmmm....a king, eh? Don't kings get de-throned in a wild coup by the villagers and have their noggin lopped off on occasion? What KING of a king should be be treated like in this scenario? One wonders.

Jackass can't even figure out which way his hat goes on.The best part? The law says that the EMS workers HAVE to tend to these guys. They HAVE to take them to the hospital. They HAVE to treat them at the hospital. And by "treat" I mean that they HAVE to give them the "minimum". The "minimum" is pretty attractive for people like Ricky Retardo there. After all, it includes "...vitamins, showers, hot food and a bed" for their homeless patients. Are you kidding me? I didn't get all of that until I was out of college?!?! HOT FOOD??? Freshman year I practically lived on JUST cereal! (OK, cereal and beer, but we're not talking about me here!)

Maybe if it just stopped at those items it would be more palpable. I mean, it wouldn't, but maybe I wouldn't be quite as angry if that's all that was happening. Since the law is that they have to be seen by someone at the hospital, even that brief eyeballing that the doctor or whomever gives to them can lead them to schedule other procedures. X-rays, cardiograms, MRIs, etc. And if something comes up in any of those, then there is the inevitable medicine that is prescribed. Costly, eh? YES!! And Medicaid (aka YOU AND ME) is paying for it!!

The thing is, as Medicaid does (or doesn't do) it doesn't pay nearly enough for all of this. They'll fork over $175 for an ER visit that it the basic minimum (you know, with the hot food and the showers and all). And that ambulance ride? You may be aware that ambulances these days are rather sophisticated. It's not like they're being hauled around in the back of a flat bed truck. Average cost of an ambulance ride is around $800. Medicaid picks up around $186. I'll do the math for you and let you know that's NOT ENOUGH!! But wait, here's a little more math, this time from the NY Post: These beligerant antics of this one moron add up to (for just Ricky himself) and "...cost the state $300,000 a year." Oh, and he's been doing this like this for about 13 years! That comes to right around $3.9 million. Dollars. US dollars. And by "US" I mean yours and mine! US!! OUR dollars! And that $3.9 million is essentially being spent on absolutely nothing at all simply because one A-hole is too damn lazy to take care of himself and get a freaking JOB and a place to live. Not only is he too damn lazy, but he's also so freaking arrogant as to not think that the consequences of having no job and no place to live should apply to him and so he takes the generosity of the people and spits it back in their faces by taking advantage of anything and everything he can without any regard to the effect it has on other people. What a selfish bastard. (Oh, whoops. Did I say that outloud? Sorry.)

It's not like Ricky is the only one pulling this scam either. Take a one 40-year old Homeless Robert who "...has called 911 as many as 50 times since becoming homeless three years ago." His deal is that he would "...tell the 911 operator he had chest pains or was suicidal." WHAT?!?! I'M suicidal just READING about this crap!! I'M not calling 911!!! Are you kidding me?? THAT warrants an ambulance?? Look, if you're telling someone you're suicidal, you're clearly NOT suicidal. If you were, you'd be too busy to call 911! Busy with all of the suicide!!

But don't get too worried about Homeless Suicidal Robert. He told the NY Post "I'm not really suicidal." Oh, whew! What a relief! For a minute there, I thought he really WAS! (Translation: No I didn't.)

For Homeless Fake Suicidal Robert it took an $800 per ride ambulance driver to chew him out before he "...stopped his 911 habit." Now, Homeless Fake Suicidal Chewed Out Robert says "I haven't called an ambulance for about a month." A month. Congratulations, moron. We're thrilled that you've stopped spending the taxpayer dollar for your own personal homeless indulgences of free green Jell-O and an adjustable bed.

Meanwhile, President Barry and the folks over there on Capitol Hill want to redo the entire health care system to "make it affordable" for everyone. And as long as there are loopholes like the ones that Ricky Retardo and Homeless Robert have made it a hobby to exploit, how is that going to help? I don't think it is! Perhaps instead of just starting over from scratch (which is kind of what they sound like they want to do) maybe they should first look at WHY costs are so high and what can be done about people like Ricky Retardo here. Root out a little fraud and abuse first and then go from there? What a novel idea!

Seriously. There HAS to be an answer for this. I have NO idea what it is though. None. But I'm open to suggestions.

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