The Garden City Community Clinic provides volunteer-based medical, dental and mental health care to people who have too little income to qualify for subsidized health insurance and too much to receive Medicaid. During the eight years that I directed the program, we treated thousands of hardworking citizens who were doing their best to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” The vast majority held down jobs that offered no benefits or multiple jobs with too few hours to receive them.
The governor’s proposal to spend $30 million in state tax dollars to provide limited primary care is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t go far enough. Ask any physician and you’ll hear the same refrain: providing a diagnosis without affordable access to necessary medications, specialists, surgeries, dental and mental health care simply doesn’t cut it. “I’m sorry, you have diabetes, but you’ll have to manage the $200 monthly insulin cost on your own.”
I highly respect the services that primary care physicians provide treating normal conditions and managing chronic diseases. However, inasmuch as a medical home may keep some out of the cold, if it’s not connected to other services, it is really just an isolated shack.
Steven Reames, Boise
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