I’m at a loss for words.
At least, words that don’t begin with F.
I’m sitting here looking at a website for the University of Rochester Medical Center. That’s the “not-for-profit” conglomerate that ate the hospital. All the hospitals. At least all the hospitals around here.
And on this chart it is listing the insurance plans which the various tentacles do or don’t accept.
Which gets to the part about me being pissed off.
Because, right there on its own website, the University of Rochester says that its properties do accept Medicaid for welfare recipients, but they don’t accept Tricare for military families and retirees.
If you are in the military, or are the spouse or child of a servicemember, or if you are retired from the military – and you don’t live right by a military installation – your health care is covered by Tricare. It is a quasi-governmental product intended to keep the federal promise to provide health care to military families and retirees.
When soldiers’ kids are dying of cancer, or a Marine’s wife is having a baby, or some airman who had her legs blown off in Iraq needs therapy, it’s typically Tricare which covers it. And in the Rochester, New York, region – there being no military hospital closer than Fort Drum – Tricare is how you get taken care of.
It’s not an entitlement, it’s a compensation. It’s not handed to you for free, you earn it by putting your ass on the line for your country.
And the University of Rochester spits on it.
More to the point, the University of Rochester spits on those who are covered by it.
Because, according to a Medical Center website, Strong Memorial Hospital does not accept Tricare. That would include the Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Wilmot Cancer Institute. Unless they can find some other way to pay their bill, Tricare-covered military families are not welcome.
Welfare recipients on Medicaid can come all day every day, but the families that fight and die for American freedom are turned away.
Same is true at Highland Hospital.
And at the University of Rochester behavioral health facilities.
And at the cross-town rival, Rochester General Hospital.
In fact, if you are a Tricare patient in the Rochester region, you’re screwed. The only regional hospitals I can find that accept Tricare are in Batavia and Canandaigua.
So when you pass by the Level 1 trauma centers as you ride 45 minutes to the hospital after your head on, I hope your will was in order and your kids weren’t too fond of you. And as you drive past the manifold University of Rochester Medicine facilities with an elephant sitting on your chest, remember that that’s not for you.
We appreciate your service, but you’re not welcome here.
Which gets back to the part about me being pissed off.
In the case of the University of Rochester, that institution exists because of federal tax dollars. Grants and contracts and various types of student loans and aide – to say nothing of Medicaid and Medicare money – make that world go round. If federal research and assistance money went away, they would close 20 minutes after they blew through their $2.12 billion endowment.
Oh, they’re glad to take the GI Bill tuition from military families, but not the health insurance.
Which strikes me as just a monumental act of ingratitude. It also makes me wonder whether the University of Rochester, with its zealous commitment to progressive orthodoxy, might not be anti-military.
It’s hard for me to see the rejection of an insurance that exclusively covers military people as anything other than an act of discrimination and oppression. When your decision disproportionately impacts a narrow segment of society, and you severely disadvantage that segment of society, it’s hard to see that as an accident or an incidental consequence.
And it’s hard for me to see how members of Congress and the presidential administration can continue to throw slop in the U of R trough when the university’s hospitals and clinics make it essentially impossible for servicemembers and their families to be patients. The warm glow associated with the hospitals cancer and pediatric efforts is dimmed substantially by the choice the hospital has made to keep military families away from those services.
I love Strong Memorial Hospital. But I love military families more.
And I am ashamed of the way this hospital company and my region treat the servicemembers in their midst.
It is a disgrace. And it should stop.
And we and our elected representatives should raise holy hell until it does.