Health care needs to serve the poor and disabled

"We don't take disabled people." That's what my wife was told when she called [a local medical center] to see a doctor. And that, in a word, is discrimination.

But it's not just [that facility]. Every doctor in town has turned her away because she's on Medicare and under 65. She's disabled, and because of that, no doctor will see her.

I'm no better off: I'm disabled too. I'm on both Medicare and Medicaid, and under 65. That means I'm disabled and poor. And no doctor in town will see me. As soon as they hear the word "Medicaid," they hang up. And that's discrimination against the poor.

I'll be fair. There is one place in town we can go. One. But I've been trying for months to get an appointment at WNCCHS. They only take calls for new-patient appointments one day a month, and you have to be fast. I waited on hold for 30 minutes, after trying for three hours to get through this month, only to be told that all the appointments were booked, and I'd have to try again on the first of next month. I'm told that every month.

What good is insurance if every doctor in town refuses to see me because my insurance means I'm poor and disabled? Why does my wife's disability prevent her from getting the same medical care any rich healthy person can get?

There need to be laws covering discrimination by doctors against the poor and disabled. Health-care reform is pointless as long as these practices are allowed to continue.

— Eric Newcomb
Asheville

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2 thoughts on “Health care needs to serve the poor and disabled

  1. It’s because Medicaid and Medicare don’t pay the doctors enough to pay off their student loans. What they need is nurse practitioners.

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