The story of Matthew King and his parents continues to resonate, this time with a national television audience.
Matthew is the 2-year-old born with a rare heart defect whose parents, Terri and Michael King, have been pressed to the edge of financial ruin while seeking medical treatment for him.
Matthew’s two open-heart surgeries and myriad other medical issues, combined with the family’s lengthy hospital stays in Las Vegas and at Stanford, exhausted their insurance and left them staggered by medical bills. Only an extension of coverage through Metro, where Michael is a veteran police officer, kept them from going under.
It’s a story well known not only to readers of this column, but also to endless thousands of families who attempt to have their children treated for serious medical conditions and play by the rules of our bogus health care system.
Now CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has featured the Kings and other families in similar predicaments as part of the network’s “Broken Government: Health Care, Critical Condition” report on the sorry state of medical costs and coverage in this nation. Terri King participated in a thwarted legislative attempt in 2006 by state Sen. and Dr. Joe Heck to allow families with medically fragile children to buy into Medicaid.
The program aired recently and is set to re-air in the early morning hours Saturday and Sunday.
What still outrages Terri King is the fact that she was told the couple would be better off if they divorced to make it easier for Matthew to qualify for coverage. Another suggestion they received was to put their child up for adoption in order for him to qualify for state-sanctioned medical coverage.
“I would like to know how our legislators would feel to be told to get a divorce or give their child up for adoption in order to qualify for Medicaid,” King says.
She adds that the experience has taught her that the current system must be changed and that her family is not alone.
ROMNEY’S EXIT: It wasn’t surprising to see Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “suspend” his campaign after a lackluster performance on Super Tuesday, but the news must have given his many Nevada supporters pause. Romney dominated our state’s small but feisty Republican caucus last month. Unlike most of his rivals, the former Massachusetts governor spent substantive time in the Silver State.
What does his exit mean?
There’s plenty of time for that discussion. But, for starters, let’s just say it means GOP front-runner John McCain eventually will have to break down and visit Nevada for something other than a campaign check and a big boxing match.
WALK THIS WAY: Talk about window shopping for a good cause. The Children’s Heart Foundation of Nevada’s annual fundraising walk is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Fashion Show mall. (Sign up online at chfn.org or on the morning of the race beginning at 7:30.)
You’ll not only be getting some exercise while you feed your shopping jones, but you’ll also be contributing to the foundation, which provides Camp Mend-a-Heart for Nevada children who are born with or develop heart problems. The CHFN also provides financial assistance to families whose children face serious medical challenges.
KEEPING A COMMITMENT: True to his word, Danny Gans continues to raise funds for Opportunity Village with benefit concerts. His latest offering is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at The Mirage.
He’s already raised more than $200,000 and has his sights set on generating $1 million for Opportunity Village, the nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of locals with intellectual disabilities.
ON THE BOULEVARD: Review-Journal columnist Geoff Schumacher’s new book, “Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue,” hits shelves this week. It’s published by Stephens Press, an R-J relative, and has garnered a dandy endorsement from “Next to Hughes” author and local icon Robert Maheu. … Surely there’s not more trouble afoot for some associates of the old Crazy Horse Too crew. I mean, say it ain’t so. Even after its closure, the club’s ghosts are keeping the cops busy. … Entertainment jack-of-all-trades Tony Sacca is about to be honored by the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Not bad for the son of a Philadelphia butcher.
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.