by JD Heyes, Natural News:
Just when you think the Marxist Left could not out-Marxist itself, it happens – this time in Hawaii.
As a way to battle its growing homeless problem, lawmakers in the state are actually considering legislation that would give doctors authority to – now get this – prescribe homes to those who need one, as part of their “treatment.”
As reported by The Guardian – content that, by the way, was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s series on “homelessness in America” – the legislation is the brainchild of an E.R. physician-turned-legislator, state Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat, who says the cost of treating homeless patients and then returning them to the street where they are bound to get sick again would be more than offset by providing them with housing instead.
“I’m really just applying a band-aid,” he said of his medical work. “But these problems require intensive long-term support.”
(RELATED: Psychiatry goes insane: Every human emotion now classified as a mental disorder in new psychiatric manual DSM-5.)
He and others cite studies that show healthcare spending on homeless adults drops something like 43 percent when they have been housed and provided some basic services.
“We’re already spending the money on homeless people, we’re just paying for it in the most inefficient, expensive way possible,” he argued. “We have a lot of capacity, but lack the political will.”
According to the Guardian:
A small number of homeless people require a disproportionate amount of medical treatment. According to Green, a recent internal study by a major Hawaiian insurer found that over half of the state’s $2bn Medicaid allotment was consumed by a tiny fraction of users, many of whom are dealing with homelessness, mental illness, and substance addiction.
Other physician-lawmakers are already signing on to Green’s legislation, including Daniel Cheng, an emergency room physician at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. He noted that last year, treatment for homeless people cost the facility $90 million.
“When emergency medical services are being heavily overused by a population that’s being poorly served, it costs everybody,” Cheng said.
Fair enough – but the problems that lead many people to homelessness cannot be solved by “prescribing” them housing. Liberals routinely blame “homelessness” for causing problems of mental instability and substance abuse, but the reality is, those problems are what lead many people to become homeless in the first place. Giving them a house or a place to live doesn’t solve the core issues of mental instability or drug abuse.
And of course, the costs are very likely being under-reported here. Green says many people he wants to provide with housing can cost the healthcare system around $120,000 a year, as opposed to $18,000 to house them – leading to potential state savings of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
But the devil is always in the details, and not everyone is seeing eye-to-eye on this scheme. In testimony last month before the Senate, the state Department of Human Resources Development said that while substance abuse and mental illnesses have been largely transformed into medical problems, prescribing a home is not necessarily part of the solution. Officials with the department see the housing solution as beyond the health care industry’s expertise.
(RELATED: The Ugly Truth About Medicine In America.)
The few Republicans in the Hawaii legislature also say that such a “solution” will quickly outpace the state’s resources. Other non-lawmakers, including Kimo Cavalho, a spokesman for the Institute of Human Services, the state’s largest homeless services provider, agree.
“You don’t want to broaden it so much that everyone is eligible,” he told The Guardian. He said he favors the legislation but fears that too many healthy people may take advantage of it and thereby overtax the system.
He also says there likely will be a great many who will simply walk away from their newly “prescribed” living quarters.
“If you give mentally ill people housing, nine out of 10 will just walk away and go back outside,” he said.
This isn’t about a lack of compassion; most reasonable people agree that something should be done to help out those who need it. But as with most Left-wing benefits schemes, this one appears to have no built-in safeguards against abuse and is ripe for ballooning into another expensive, out-of-control boondoggle.
Not everyone who needs help actually wants it.