Without a Doctor?

(The following commentary of mine was published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal today.)

There’s been a lot of talk in our state about health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid and so on. There’s one side who believes health care is a right, and another believes government intervention in health care is wrong.

We are seeing the penultimate example of why health care reform is so urgently needed in our country. For six years, I witnessed first-hand the rape of Medicaid and Ryan White funding at the hands of Florida’s Republican governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. What were once viable programs providing health care to people in need became bureaucratic jungles of unpaid claims and unmanageable care based upon rigid guidelines designed not to provide the best health care possible, but to deny payment for health care.

Faced with decreasing payments caused by further cuts to these programs, physicians have been forced to quit seeing patients they care for, thanks to political appointees bogging down the system to “save taxpayers money.”

Ten years ago, this area had five physicians handling HIV patients. Today there are none. Now that Dr. Daniel J. Warner has been booted as “the area’s only certified HIV doctor,” can someone out there explain where the hundreds of patients he’s seen over the years are supposed to go? Many of these patients lack the funds and transportation to go out of our area to see a capable physician. Will they have to see a physician who (most likely) is overwhelmed already? A physician untrained in the complex and ever-changing scope of care these patients need? How does the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida plan on ensuring proper care for these patients?

Here’s a message to Jim L. Mayo, chairman of the Health Planning Council: Instead of donating money to Republican political candidates and health insurance PACs, how about spearheading real reform to health care by supporting our president? Or will Mayo be content with the knowledge that his actions might very well lead to the death of so many patients?


7 responses »

  1. A great question: how DOES the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida plan on ensuring proper care of these patients? Executive Director Dawn Emerick’s reply in the News-Journal is nonsensical and evasive. Dropping the only HIV specialist in the area furthers an “effort to move ahead with a bigger vision of creating a ‘seamless, unified access system?'” What is she even talking about? No details of any forthcoming “access system” were provided to the Council’s clients in the terse letter giving them short notice that they are without a doctor.

    But I suppose the system is now seamless and unified in its complete lack of access to an HIV specialist. Perhaps we should ask the source?

    Contact information for the staff, including the Executive Director, of the Health Planning Council: http://www.hpcnef.org/about/staff-and-governing-board/

    Also, the Council is on Facebook! They are posting plenty of links to news stories on their wall… but oddly, not this one. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacksonville-FL/Health-Planning-Council-of-Northeast-Florida/164347935828

    Also, if you are a Twitter user, tweet them at @hpcnf (http://twitter.com/hpcnf)

  2. Pingback: The Rape of Florida Medicaid | My HIV Specialist

  3. Pingback: The Rape of Florida Medicaid « Welcome to My World

  4. every day I think there is hope for healthcare.. and every day I find another retarded commentary/question/statement from the “Gordo’s” of the world..

    I don’t understand how this country has ‘super-power’ status when it comes to human rights when we let our people die of curable diseases for fear that “OMG it might cost me less than what I’m paying now, but if we do it for everyone that lazy bitch down the road might get a pap smear she doesn’t deserve.”.

    this bogus idea that the market will always correct itself is another dumb-logic conclusion.. really? well then why haven’t they? what are they waiting for? it to get worse? riiiiggghhhttt…

    and don’t get me started on the school systems..

    I’ll be glad when this vote is over and the bill is passed..then we can work on tweaking it to perfection over the next couple years.. how sad that it’s 2010 and the USA ranks so low when it comes to health care..

    we should be embarrassed..

    • It sickens me (hah!) to read the comments from the likes of Sam and lilMike. Of course it’s a class issue! Those who have the money can get the best healthcare in the nation. Those who don’t, don’t. I see the latest diatribe against “ObamaCare” is that line about waiting in lines for “substandard” care…as if government-run health care is “substandard”.

      I happen to be lucky enough to have the best health care there is…the VA. And it’s (duh) run by the government! No lines, no waiting, a caring personal physician…and it’s all free (or at reduced cost for some)! And…trust me when I say the care I receive is some of the best in the nation.

      The situation with the termination of Dr. Warner’s contract is a great example. What’s wrong with healthcare isn’t the care itself…it’s the bureaucrats and middle men that make it so difficult to get the care!

      My new hero, Rep. Alan Grayson has a great idea. One I’ve spoken of on here before. Medicare for all! He’s introduced an amendment to the health care reform bill (HR4789, The Public Option Act) currently pending.


      Let’s face it. Health insurance companies charge as much money as possible, and they provide as little care as possible. The difference is called profit. You can’t blame them for it; that’s what a corporation does. Birds got to fly, fish got to swim, health insurers got to rip you off. And if you get really expensive, they’ve got to pull the plug on you. So for those of us who would like to stay alive, we need a public option.

      In many areas of the country, one or two insurers have over 80% of the market. They can charge anything they want. And when you get sick, they can flip the bird at you. So we need a public option.

      And they face no real competition because it costs billions of dollars just to set up a national health care network. In fact, the only one that’s nationwide is . . . Medicare. And we limit that to one-eight of the population. It’s like saying that only seniors can drive on federal highways. We really need a public option.

      And to the right-wing loons who call it socialism, we say, “if you want to be a slave to the insurance companies, that’s fine. If you want 30% of your premiums to go to ‘administrative costs’ and billion-dollar bonuses for insurance CEOs who figure out new and creative ways to deny you the care you need to stay healthy and alive, that’s fine. But don’t you try to dictate to me that I can’t have a public option!”

      And there is a way left to get it. By insisting on a vote on H.R. 4789. Three votes on health care, not two. The Senate bill, the reconciliation amendments, and the Public Option Act.

      We got 50 co-sponsors for this bill in two days. Including five powerful committee chairman. But we need more.

      Sign our Petition at WeWantMedicare.com.

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