Cutting into healthcare

Re "County may close most of its clinics," Feb. 14

A perfect storm is hitting L.A.'s healthcare delivery system. Los Angeles County is planning to send its indigent patients into the private sector as the governor and state Senate consider 10% cuts to Medi-Cal providers.

Many physicians already turn away new Medi-Cal patients because the state's payments do not cover the actual costs of providing care. Patients are left with nowhere to go but the county's overwhelmed emergency rooms, stoking the fires of crisis like those at Harbor-UCLA.

L.A. County is already home to federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas, where there are too few primary-care physicians to care for patients. The primary and preventive care that family physicians deliver is what keeps people healthier longer and out of emergency rooms and reduces healthcare spending overall. Investing in family medicine is one of the best investments California can make. The Medi-Cal budget cuts do just the opposite.

Jeffrey Luther MD

Long Beach

The writer is president-elect of the California Academy of Family Physicians.

Talk about juxtapositions. On the Feb. 14 front page, the article on the county closing clinics is next to one on congressional hearings on whether pitcher Roger Clemens took steroids. When did our priorities get so skewed?

To waste taxes and legislative energy on baseball players when healthcare in this country has become unaffordable for most people is absurd. I suppose it's easier to get subpoenaed ballplayers to hearings than the criminals in the White House.

Lenny Winans

Long Beach

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