David C. Wilcox, apparently an unhealthy individual, has been fortunate in his ability to obtain health insurance and medical care. When millions of Americans are stricken with cancer or heart disease, they lose their jobs and health insurance.
Others are among the one in four Americans who have no health insurance. Those lacking health insurance, or financial security, often delay seeking medical care until their diseases have caused irreversible damage. They then present to our overburdened, underfunded public hospitals to be cared for by physicians in training. These Americans might not survive their heart attacks and cancer, as Mr. Wilcox has been blessed to have done. Mr. Wilcox, like many Americans, seems blind to the plight of our less fortunate citizens.
I provided medical care in the private setting for 30 years and now volunteer at LAC-USC Medical Center. I have seen insured patients receive poor care and indigent patients receive excellent care. The odds of receiving good medical care, however, are skewed in favor of the patient with insurance.
Having just celebrated Independence Day, we should be reminded that the Constitution of the United States begins: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare....” We, not just those citizens who can afford insurance or have accumulated wealth, should all share in the work, justice and prosperity of this wonderful country.
In 2010, the United States Congress passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR3962). This legislation, following the spirit of Medicare (provides access to healthcare for the elderly) and Medicaid (provides access for the poorest Americans), utilizes the private healthcare system to furnish medical services. The constitutionality of this legislation has now been confirmed by the Supreme Court. HR3962 is a first attempt to provide healthcare access for the majority of our citizens. This proposal is far from perfect, but it is a beginning.
Christine McFadden Evelyn, M.D.
La Cañada Flintridge