Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Uninsured

The ability to have access to healthcare should not have any relation to ones economic status as is the current policy in the USA. Neither should barriers for vast changes in America's healthcare system be present. The fact is the U.S.A. spends more in its profit driven healthcare system then it would in a socialized public regulated system. My vote would be in support of the type of healthcare policy seen in Canada and France.

Illness and the uninsured; While politicians are talking, here's a way to raise local money to help
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC) 05/02/2007

From Amsalu Bizuneh, M.D., of Gaston Memorial Hospital:
Joe (not his real name) thought he knew what to do when his groin started to hurt where he had his hernia repaired some two years ago. He came to Gaston Family Health Services, which provides care at reduced fees for those without health insurance. There he was told he had an infection in the material used to repair the hernia deep in his groin.
Joe had relocated to Gastonia from New York after he was laid off from his factory job that provided the health insurance for the initial hernia repair. His new job could not provide the costly health insurance if it hoped to continue to stay open. Joe did not qualify for Medicaid because he made "too much money."
The doctor who saw him at the Gastonia clinic knew what should be done: Joe needed to see a surgeon fast, who could remove the infected material and repair the hernia. Unfortunately, Joe did not have insurance. Further, he did not have the money to pay for the surgeon's consultation fee or for a surgical repair of the infected groin.
Although his doctor at the clinic gave him powerful antibiotics to take by mouth, he knew Joe's condition could worsen, requiring emergency care, an intensive care unit stay and the need to now see several other expert doctors -- all at a much greater cost than outpatient surgery.
Joe is only one of 47 million Americans who lack health insurance today. As we brace for another presidential election cycle, our nation's uninsured have once again become a hot political issue.
Is the political climate finally ripe to reform our complicated health-care system, where many working Americans fall through the cracks?
Maybe. But experience tells us political rhetoric doesn't always lead to effective changes in policy. What is clear, however, is that while candidates may talk about "health-care reform" every four years, those Americans without health-care coverage must roll the dice every single day in the hope that they do not require medical care.
I frequently see patients like Joe, whose conditions have worsened as a result of unavailable outpatient specialty care. Specialists in our community frequently provide charity care to these patients. However, the volume of patients who require this care is beyond the scope of the physicians who volunteer their time and efforts. Many patients earn less than a thousand dollars above the yearly national poverty level and thus are disqualified from Medicaid.
As evidenced by our presidential politics, the dilemma of Gaston County's uninsured is but a microcosm of a growing national problem that cannot wait another four years for a solution.
To this end, I am working with Gaston Family Health Services to raise awareness about uninsured patients requiring specialty care. On June 2, the inaugural Grand Garibaldi Run ( ) will be held to raise money for those living without health insurance. I hope the 5K race and 1-mile fun walk will bring many people from the Charlotte area to Belmont, 15 minutes west of uptown Charlotte. While we hope our politicians make proposals, form committees and sponsor bills that will finally ensure sweeping health-care reform, it is left to us to take action. I encourage you to participate in the Grand Garibaldi to raise awareness and develop solutions for patients like Joe.

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