Articles in the April 9 Statesman about free medical clinics and difficulty veterans are having getting medical appointments shows why we need universal health care. I worked as a primary care physician at Terry Reilly Health Services for 22 years, where 65 percent of our patients had no health insurance.
Clinics like Terry Reilly are able to help a lot by providing primary medical, behavioral and dental care. Specialty medical services needed beyond the primary care clinics are essentially unobtainable for the uninsured. I took care of patients who died of their cardiac disease, cancers and became crippled from their rheumatoid arthritis. Ironically, once they became sick and disabled enough from their illnesses, they would become eligible for Medicare and could get some help. This was usually years too late and the damage was done and was irreversible. I do want to say that there are countless specialty physicians and therapists in the area who helped my patients for free, and I am sure they still do.
People are concerned if we have universal health care we will have to ration health care. We do now. There are those who get health care and those who don’t.
Mark Mering, M,D, Boise