Palin’s Health Care Priorities and Alaska’s Daughters
Today, Lisa Demer of the Anchorage Daily News has broken a story that adds another scandal to the growing list of scandals that have plagued this administration, and shines the light on Alaska’s very own health care crisis. Demer’s story centers on the horrendous condition of the Alaska’s state programs that are designed to help its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled.
The situation is so bad the federal government has forbidden the state to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements. [snip]
The moratorium is expected to last four or five months. State officials estimate about 1,000 Alaskans will be affected.
A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.
No other state in the nation is under such a moratorium, according to a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
There are currently eight lawsuits pending against the state which also rang alarm bells on the federal level.
Doctors and other health care providers wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid with concerns that the state wasn’t responsive. Some alleged that the lack of state controls “has resulted in the death(s) of the active clients,” the federal review said.
While the people served are frail and suffer from chronic health issues, the state never investigated to determine if any failure in service contributed to the deaths, the federal review found.
“Thus, if someone passed away because a (personal care assistant) did not show up, for example, there was no indication this would have been reported or investigated,” the report said.
The state plans to start doing fatality reviews.
The state plans to start doing fatality reviews?
So, it would appear, since we are the only state where the situation is bad enough to require federal intervention that the administration has had its mind on other things. We know, of course, that the governor has been busy with her farewell tour, flying all over the state and signing bills and doing little shout outs and quotes of the day on her twitter account, and getting ready to become a full-time celebrity.
But what about health? What have been, and what currently are the administrations top priorities on matters of health and human services? It’s obviously not the care and well-being of our vulnerable seniors, so what is it?
The administration is spending an awful lot of time on the upcoming ballot initiative that will address parental notice and consent for anyone under the age of 18 who is seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Here is the initiative language with recent changes in language underlined. parental20involvement20initiative1
Two years ago, the Alaska Supreme Court on a 3-2 ruling said that a parental consent law was unconstitutional because it transferred the right to make such an important decision to a parent or a judge. They also stated that a parental notification law, however, might be constitutional.
Although she stated she’d like to take this on personally, Palin, under the advice of her attorney, took a step back.
“I got a preliminary opinion from Law (Department) just giving me a heads up that critics would certainly file an ethics charge against me if I were to sponsor an initiative,” she said. “So though I maintain I have First Amendment rights just as any other citizen does, I won’t flirt with the notion of giving critics more ammunition to keep filing wasteful ethics charges against me, but instead I’ll volunteer to be the first signature.”
There go those critics again, demanding ethics. And there goes the governor again, not quite understanding the first amendment, or the ethics act.
Planned Parenthood, recognizing that a girl who doesn’t want to tell her parents she’s pregnant, or fill out paperwork to get time off from school to go stand before a judge in superior court and convince him or her that she is mature and intelligent enough to make decisions about her own reproductive health, might just take the situation in to her own hands.
Girls researching self-induced abortion on the Internet could find all kinds of bad advice, said Clover Simon, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood.
In the week prior to Sarah Palin’s hurried announcement that she’d be stepping down as the governor of the state, a new scandal was brewing on the horizon. It didn’t get as much publicity as some of the other numerous Palin scandals, in part because everyone became preoccupied with her resignation.
The fact that a frightened teen who doesn’t want to become a parent might do what others have done and just try to Google her way out of her predicament may have crossed the mind of Beverly Wooley, the state’s public health director, who was scheduled to appear before the legislature on this issue. She stated, earlier this month that she was forced out of her position, largely due to differences between her and the governor on the parental involvement issue.
Wooley said she also intended to answer questions from legislators and said she would rely on data, not anyone’s personal beliefs. Whether she personally agreed with the governor is beside the point, Wooley said.
She intended to refer to studies from states that already had passed similar legislation, she said. Some of the research shows that, with parental involvement requirements, girls tend to get abortions later in their pregnancy, which is riskier and more expensive, she said. Other research shows fewer girls get abortions, which abortion foes like Palin likely would applaud.
And while Palin says she “will not hesitate to speak up in support of Alaska’s daughers,” her concern does not seem to extend to Alaska’s daughters whose parents are literally dying from neglect because of budget cuts and mismanagement. The “culture of life” seems to have an expiration date that our seniors have passed. And left out are Alaska’s daughters who will choose not to talk to their parents, and take matters in to their own hands rather than submit to the emotional stress, embarrassment and legal wranglings of convincing a judge that they were abused, or the victim of incest, or just not ready to be a parent.
By all indications Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, who is set to take the helm of state on July 26th will have his work cut out for him. His predecessor has left him quite a mess. Where will his priorities lie?