I do try to avoid unnecessary profanity, but what Oklahoma is doing is profane.
Maybe by now you have heard that any woman unfortunate enough to be pregnant in Oklahoma will find great obstacles to her care. For one thing, her doctor is allowed to lie to her about whether he has reason to believe there are fetal anomalies that will become birth defects. After all, she may decide that carrying a baby who will die soon after birth or require expensive, time monopolizing care is not something she wants to do. To some people, that makes her a “selfish slut,” but to most people that makes her “normal.”
Moreover, any woman seeking an abortion in Oklahoma will have to get an ultrasound, look at the pictures, and listen to a description of the embryo or fetus. And fill out a privacy-invading questionnaire. No exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or women who already know there is something seriously wrong with the embryo/fetus.
The ever brilliant (and very sarcastic) Digby points out how this bill will fail:
Sure the dumb bitches can’t be allowed to make their own decisions about taking on a lifetime of care or consider implications for their own health and well being. What the silly little twits don’t know won’t hurt them, right? But you’d think that the important members of society like insurance companies and employers would have a stake in something like this.
Here’s the thing. Failing to note fetal abnormalities on the ultrasound and still billing the insurance company is called fraud. Fraud, unlike medical malpractice, is a criminal offense. Do that to a patient whose care is paid for under a Federal program and it’s a federal crime with federal time. Fine, Doc can’t be sued for malpractice; he can go to prison instead.
Doc is also subject to ethics rules, and those would include telling patients the truth. Doc can lose his license if someone makes an ethics complaint with the state board of medical examiners.
If enough big employers lose enough Edna Employees to the care of severely disabled babies, they will find a way to sue doctors who hid those conditions. After all, big employers often have an entire legal department. And that would fall under general liability rather than med-mal.
So believe it or not, I think the insurance companies will provide the work-around for this. Remember that under the health insurance reform that was just passed, they can’t exclude children with pre-existing conditions. They have a vested interest in preventing severely disabled babies from being in their pool of insureds. What they will do is insist that ultrasounds be done in an independent imaging facility — not the doctor’s office or an affiliated facility — and insist that a full copy of the report be provided both to them and the mother-to-be. This will outrage obstetricians because they make good money on ultrasounds and the equipment is not cheap.
Oh well, maybe they should have objected to this bill before it became law.
In Closing Arizona Update: the smartest thing you are likely to read about illegal immigration this week; let the lawsuits begin; polls, demographics, and the future; boycotts are already underway; even some prominent Republicans think Arizona has gone too far; gee, who could have seen harassment of day laborers coming??; Hispanics vow to fight this law.
In Closing For Real This Time: Tell us what you really think about Goldman Sachs, Barry! (And why doesn’t your blog read like this? Maybe you should dictate your posts); high school graduates going to college rather than competing in the dismal job market, but does anybody really believe that 70% of the jobs that will be available in 4 years needs a college degree?; a security expert from one of the most secure airports in the world calls full-body scanners a waste of money; The Vaccine War; America doesn’t rule the world and shouldn’t be allowed to say what other nation’s product labels can include; reduce the deficit by expanding Medicare; get rid of “too big to fail”; and finally, if you are in a position to do something nice for J.P., please do.