Kristof explained that John Brodniak, a sawmill worker in Oregon, has hemangioma (an abnormal growth of blood vessels, causing spasms, memory loss, and painful headaches) but can't get treatment for it in Oregon. Brodniak told Kristof he had been unable to get insurance, and thus unable to get relief from his agony. Kristof bemoaned intransigent politicians:
If a senator strolled indifferently by as John retched in pain, we would think that person pitiless. But isn't it just as monstrous for politicians to avert their eyes, make excuses and deny coverage to innumerable Americans just like John?
Malkin lambasted Kristof for manipulative emotionalism, bogus death statistics, and non-existent reporting, pointing out "you won't find a single doctor, hospital official, or Oregon Medicaid official quoted. Did Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kristof bother to try and confirm Brodniak's medical condition with another source. Nope."
Then, triggered by a doctor's comment on Kristof's nytimes.com blog, Malkin next did something Kristof apparently didn't - made a phone call:
Today, I did something that Pulitzer Prize-winning NYTimes columnist Nick Kristof apparently didn't do: I talked to a spokesman at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon.
I called them up after OHSU's Dr. Johnny Delashaw left a comment about Kristof's piece spotlighting the horrible plight of John Brodniak, an Oregon man with a neurological condition that he says no one would treat.
Kristof used Brodniak's plight to argue for universal health care, decry Brodniak's deadly lack of insurance (even though he got Medicaid coverage in August), and lambaste doctors for refusing to treat Brodniak due to low reimbursements.
Well, OHSU confirmed for me two things:
1) OHSU is a safety-net hospital not far from where Brodniak lives. The hospital accepts all Medicaid patients and would not turn Brodniak away.
Okay, are you ready for Number 2?
2) Brodniak is a patient at OHSU - and has been a patient there for the past three weeks.
In other words, at the time Kristof's article was published this past Sunday, Brodniak was already being treated and cared for by some of the best neurologists in the country!
Malkin summed up:
So: John Brodniak, a man who already has government health insurance and is already being treated for his illness, is the New York Times's poster boy for why we need a new, massive nationalized health care system in order to cover and treat more people like Brodniak...who is already covered and being treated.