Los Angeles Times Letter 12 21 08


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Letter to the editor published in the LA Times on the crisis in primary care.

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Los Angeles Times Letter 12 21 08

  1. 1. Los Angeles Times: Letters to the editor http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-letters21-2008dec21,... http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-letters21-2008dec21,0,1545384.story From the Los Angeles Times Letters Letters to the editor December 21, 2008 What's the Rx? Re “Why the doctor won’t see you now,” Column One, Dec. 15 As a recently graduated orthopedic surgeon struggling to make ends meet in today's medical environment, I was encouraged that someone in the media is finally starting to notice that doctors are being assaulted on all sides economically. Your article, however, focused on primary care doctors. Even specialists can't keep up. Surgeons are being paid less and less while our costs continue to skyrocket. Insurance companies routinely deny payment, often without a good reason. I also have a tremendous amount of student loan debt that I am not sure I can pay back. When young people ask me if they should go into medicine, I tell them not to. Many of my colleagues do the same. If becoming a doctor is no longer financially appealing (it's actually the opposite), how long will it take for people to stop wanting to go to medical school? If the effort isn't worth it, won't we lose the best and the brightest doctors? Sharoun Porat Laguna Hills Primarily, it's primary care Re “Why the doctor won’t see you now,” Column One, Dec. 15 This is a timely article, as healthcare reform becomes more likely with the incoming Obama administration. However, any comprehensive effort to change our fragmented healthcare system will run aground if our primary care crisis is not dealt with. The American College of Physicians reports that from 1997 to 2005, the number of U.S. medical graduates entering family medicine residencies dropped by 50%. That is likely to continue as medical school debt increases well beyond $100,000 per graduate and primary care physicians continue to receive low payment rates from Medicare and other insurers. Without a strong foundation of primary care physicians, where will patients get care -- even if we close the gap of the uninsured? Mark A. Newsom Silver Spring, Md. :: When are we going to realize that a single-payer system would solve this problem? Physicians are driven out of primary care -- where early treatment saves the most in suffering and expense -- because patients can't or won't pay and private insurers discount payments and inundate providers with bureaucratic restrictions. Single-payer legislation will be back in California's next legislative session. It's the only plan that makes sense: comprehensive coverage for all that saves money for families, businesses and government. This time, instead of knee-jerk rejection of a health insurance plan that provides better care more cheaply, let's make California the innovator once again. Don Schroeder North Hollywood :: Here is your story condensed: Nice lady. Probably a good doctor. Terrible businesswoman. Business fails. Paul Lavin, OD San Diego Who wouldn't want Jarvis? Re “Hall of fame needs giants,” Column, Dec. 15 George Skelton says the California Hall of Fame needs giants, and he is critical of the lack of inductees of stature. He goes on to list some candidates he favors, including the founder of Bank of America and the Beach Boys, but leaves out one of the most influential men in California history: Howard Jarvis. 1 of 2 1/4/2009 11:36 AM
  2. 2. Los Angeles Times: Letters to the editor http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-letters21-2008dec21,... Millions sing the praises of the father of Proposition 13 every year when they receive their property tax bill. Yes, some who want unrestricted access to taxpayers' wallets might consider this nomination controversial, but being universally loved is hardly a reasonable or realistic standard for membership in the Hall of Fame. When it comes to those who have had an impact on our state, Howard Jarvis should head the list. Jon Coupal Sacramento The writer is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. This information -- priceless Re “Fed cuts its rate to zero — and it’s not done yet,” Dec. 17 Wow, I can't wait to get my new credit card with a close-to-zero interest rate just like the rate that banks use when lending to one another. What's that? Those rates are only for the bankers, lenders and speculators who got us into this mess? Hmmm. Maybe I won't get a credit card after all, so I can learn to not spend what I don't have. Victoria Minetta Los Angeles :: The Federal Reserve says it will "employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth." Let us hope the Fed doesn't seek to resume the sort of "sustainable" growth fueled by overconsumption perpetuated by reckless lending stoked by wanton greed enabled by lax oversight inculcated by the withering of business ethics -- breathe -- that got us here in the first place. I hope one of the Fed's tools is common sense. Christopher Esse Los Angeles Ruined wonders Re “Sweeping view of the past,” Dec. 14 I was saddened to read about Babylon and wondered how could the different governments of Iraq over the course of their existence been so ignorant and nonchalant in failing to preserve one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I wish a powerful entity could be created to protect and restore historic sites in Third World countries before they are completely obliterated and fall into eternal oblivion. After all, the hanging gardens of Babylon do not belong to Iraq only -- they belong to the world. Harmik Gharibi Glendale A life, a story, a mirror Re “Faith, family test gay Muslim,” Column One, Dec. 17 It was great to read this article on Aliyah Bacchus. I have gone through the same thing in my life, but with a different religion in the equation. I am 39 years old and still feel much as Bacchus does ... split. People ask me how I can embrace a belief that tells me I will go to hell? I wonder that myself. I have a very strong mother who will not accept my partner. I can barely say my partner's name in my mother's presence. I appreciate reading about another lesbian who is brave enough to be who she is -- despite the religious conditioning. Raquel Burbank Glendale If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives. Article licensing and reprint options Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service Home Delivery | Advertise | Archives | Contact | Site Map | Help partners: 2 of 2 1/4/2009 11:36 AM