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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Former Reliever Tells Story of MLB Players Union Refusing to Help Pay for Life-Saving Treatment

​Former reliever Micah Bowie spent parts of six seasons at the major league level, including two seasons with the ​Washington Nationals in 2006 and 2007. After just 10 appearances with the Colorado Rockies in 2008, he was released and his career was over.

After clawing his way to stay in the big leagues, Bowie is now fighting and clawing just to stay alive.

​​After undergoing back surgery that led to complications in 2016, Bowie has been dealing with life-threatening health issues, including severe damage to his lungs that doesn’t allow him to breath very well.

QLE Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: health, micah bowie, mlbpa

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   1. bobm Posted: January 20, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5806973)
This sounds awful.

“The pitching had really taken its toll on my lumbar,” he said. “Once I got done with baseball, and the pain became unbearable and unmanageable, we had a spinal cord stimulator put in in August 2016 to help with the pain and to try to get me ready for some fusions that were necessary because of baseball. Not long after we had some complications from the surgery the battery bounced around, created some damage. I ended up with both lungs being damaged and my diaphragm being ruptured. I’ve had multiple surgeries to try to correct that damage.”

Since then, Bowie has tried to find some help to stay alive. “I don’t know how much longer I am going to live,” he said. “I’ve had multiple times where I made it back, but my family has been dealing with me being in this life and death situation for a long time now.”
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5807170)
I wonder what Marvin Miller would have to say about this story.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:34 PM (#5807183)
It's not clear that there's much the Union can do. By his own admission, Bowie is short of the service time to qualify for disability - the Union can't just ignore that. He may have been a victim of medical malpractice, but Bowie chose not to go that route. It does appear that he's getting the MLB health insurance.
   4. JustMe Posted: January 21, 2019 at 05:16 AM (#5807222)
Articles like this certainly make it seem like the is a concerted effort to use the press to smart the players. Seems like the owners are getting ready for a work storage.
   5. Leroy Kincaid Posted: January 21, 2019 at 06:01 AM (#5807225)
...because of baseball


He played baseball against his will?
   6. JustMe Posted: January 21, 2019 at 07:13 AM (#5807228)
(4) smart=smear
   7. depletion Posted: January 21, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5807324)
Sure is a lot of hate for this guy considering the shape he's in. "He played baseball against his will?" What a laugh riot.
   8. Greg Pope Posted: January 21, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5807328)
It's not clear that there's much the Union can do. By his own admission, Bowie is short of the service time to qualify for disability - the Union can't just ignore that. He may have been a victim of medical malpractice, but Bowie chose not to go that route. It does appear that he's getting the MLB health insurance.

Bowie is appealing on the grounds that his injuries were caused by playing Major League Baseball. The article doesn't specifically say, but there must be a clause somewhere that says that the requirements are lessened or waived if the injury was caused due to playing. So if Jason Kendall can't walk straight because of his ankle injury, maybe he qualifies for disability no matter how long he played.

His injuries aren't as cut-and-dried as that, so he is being denied.
   9. depletion Posted: January 21, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5807337)
Insurance companies and pension plans are not charities, so I understand that if he doesn't qualify for benefits, he doesn't get benefits. Sounds like he's having trouble paying his bills, and is trying everything he can. Also from the Wash Times article: "Texas malpractice laws have a cap on damages that can be awarded, and Bowie said that cap would have been lower than the costs of him pursuing a lawsuit." Must have a really low cap or really expensive lawyers.
   10. bobm Posted: January 21, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5807367)
It's not clear that there's much the Union can do.

FTFA:

“I called the union," Bowie said. "I talked to a member of the pension committee, one of the guys who had declined my benefits, and he informed me he didn’t even read my case. He just read from the attorney for the pension plan that they could deny it, so without looking at my stuff they just denied me.


Some MLB team should sign him and DL him for the needed 20 days service time to qualify.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: January 21, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5807370)
maybe a wealthy teammate will save the day?
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 21, 2019 at 02:25 PM (#5807378)
He just read from the attorney for the pension plan that they could deny it, so without looking at my stuff they just denied me.

Not to pile on Bowie, but it seems likely that the Union attorney summarized the arguments Bowie made before recommending against his claim. The article doesn't really indicate the precise basis for his claim - that may be the reporting or his failure to be clear. The surgery was 10 years after his career ended, and I don't see any mention of a DL stint related to his eventual surgery. It's an unfortunate story, but far from clear that the Union has wronged him in any way.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 21, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5807385)
Also from the Wash Times article: "Texas malpractice laws have a cap on damages that can be awarded, and Bowie said that cap would have been lower than the costs of him pursuing a lawsuit." Must have a really low cap or really expensive lawyers.

A quick Google search indicates Texas has a $250,000 Cap On Non-Economic Damages. That's separate for each doctor or hospital, and based on the information reported, and it would seem that Bowie would also have considerable economic damages if he is no longer able to work. It might be the reporting, but it does seem like he might have had a better claim for medical malpractice than a disability pension.
   14. Leroy Kincaid Posted: January 21, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5807421)
Sure is a lot of hate for this guy considering the shape he's in. "He played baseball against his will?" What a laugh riot.


Wasn't hate or even a joke. Just pointing out that he seems to be blaming the profession he chose for his problems. I can have sympathy for his plight but not his justification for apparently seeking an exception to contractual criteria he doesn't meet.
   15. Khrushin it bro Posted: January 21, 2019 at 09:00 PM (#5807509)
Sounds like a really bad situation but it's a bit of a reach I think. He hurt his back so he had surgery, the surgery made things worse. If he had back surgery and they gave him the wrong dose of medication and he died would that have been the player's union's fault? It's not like having CTE after playing football or something. That said it's too bad when anybody has extreme health issues like this. I hope he finds a way to get better.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 21, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5807520)

Wasn't hate or even a joke. Just pointing out that he seems to be blaming the profession he chose for his problems. I can have sympathy for his plight but not his justification for apparently seeking an exception to contractual criteria he doesn't meet.

It appears he is claiming the injury was caused by his work in MLB, which would mean he would meet the criteria for some form of coverage.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 21, 2019 at 10:07 PM (#5807536)
It appears he is claiming the injury was caused by his work in MLB, which would mean he would meet the criteria for some form of coverage.

The 10 year time lag, and the skimpy description of the medical issues, makes it quite possible that the claim wasn't sufficiently supported by the facts. It's an unfortunate situation, but nothing mentioned here has shown that the Union's decision was in error.
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 22, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5807588)
#17 perhaps; but the fact that he chose to play baseball (rather than being forced) is irrelevant to that analysis. So the comment in #5 doesn’t make any sense.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5807593)
This sounds like medical malpractice where he suffered actual damages. The Texas award cap shouldn't really play in getting all his medical care paid for, and compensating him for his inability to work.
   20. Rusty Priske Posted: January 22, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5807595)
The real issue of course is that America has a disaster of a health care system.

It shouldn't matter whether he has money of not because important medical treatment shouldn't cost the patient a damn thing.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5807598)
It shouldn't matter whether he has money of not because important medical treatment shouldn't cost the patient a damn thing.

Not possible. If there's no cost, there must be rationing of some sort.

I'm not sure why it's any better to be told you can't have surgery because the cost-benefit analysis of the NHS says you're not worth it, vs. because you can't pay.

If Bowie needs massively expensive, or experimental treatment, he wouldn't get it under nationalized health care either. If he needs normal treatment in the U.S., he won't be denied because he can't pay.
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 22, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5807699)
It shouldn't matter whether he has money of not because important medical treatment shouldn't cost the patient a damn thing.

The article is a mess, but only the headline indicates that the Union is "refusing to help pay for life-saving medical treatment". The article itself discusss the denial of a disability pension because of Bowie's lack of sufficient service time and [impliedly] his disability not being sufficiently connected to his MLB career. IIRC, it has been widely reported that MLB players get lifetime health benefits after only 1 day in the Majors, and there is no mention of any denial of medical coverage, or even a needed medical treatment, in the article.
   23. Leroy Kincaid Posted: January 22, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5807971)
#17 perhaps; but the fact that he chose to play baseball (rather than being forced) is irrelevant to that analysis. So the comment in #5 doesn’t make any sense.


Because of BBTF I have to read comments that don't make any sense.

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