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Perils of Complexity

Fascinating story about a Tennessee woman who died from lupus, as reported by Jane Zhang in the Wall Street Journal.

“Nikki didn’t die from lupus,” her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said. “Nikki died from complications of the failing American health care system.”

Three points from it:

  1. the woman’s sickness caused her to lose her job and thus her insurance. That made it hard for her to obtain coverage (by the way, I once dated a woman with lupus; her lifestyle was a continuous series of medical ups and downs).
  2. The state Medicaid she enrolled in Tennessee was incompetent and did a lot of harm here. I have to wonder how  Texas Medicaid compares.
  3. This woman was very educated and an informed consumer. Her parents (who were her advocates) were former managers at pharmaceutical companies (and so understood the medical system much better than typical Americans).   Still they got "lost" in the tangle of rules and regulations about coverage;  private health insurance providers didn’t help either.  In retrospect,  Nikki’s family might have been more willing to go into debt to pay for Nikki’s care after the rejection from Medicaid, but the wisdom of doing this becomes evident only after the fact. 

That is the scariest  thing: complexity. Health care consumers find out important information only after it is too late.

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