From The State:
Friday, Apr. 22, 2011
MEET JUNE, a 37-year-old mother with two girls in elementary school. She had been married, but her husband was killed in Iraq. She is fighting depression.
One morning while showering, June discovered a lump in her left breast. “She knew in her heart what it was,” said Dr. Stuart Hamilton, who shared the story at a Leadership Columbia Alumni Association luncheon last month.
Despite her concerns, June shrugged it off and continued to work her two part-time jobs. Months later, she found that the lump had grown seriously larger.
She searched the phone book for a doctor and had to make multiple calls. She never found a physician who took her insurance. She tried again, months later, and finally found a doctor. Her appointment was scheduled for four weeks later.
“She was informed that she had come too late.”
“I tell you that story to make a point,” Dr. Hamilton said. “Here in our community, in downtown Columbia, June is not alone.”
Dr. Hamilton, CEO of Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers, would know. The cooperative has health centers in four counties that provide primary health-care services to people of all stripes, particularly the underserved and uninsured.
Many people in our community endure similar trials as June and can’t get needed care, Dr. Hamilton said. “For us, that is just not good enough.”
Dr. Hamilton’s words were both a challenge and a moment of enlightenment for the group of established and up-and-coming business and community leaders who gathered March 15 for a monthly luncheon; many of these leaders are likely to be key contributors to the development of Columbia.
Other countries have long settled the question of whether to provide all their citizens health care, but the United States has yet to do so, Dr. Hamilton said. “This country has never really decided that. We’re always debating should there be health care for everyone,” he said.
He then proceeded to share details of the new health-care reform law, which not long ago turned a year old.
While critics focus on its flaws and declare it will ruin America financially, Dr. Hamilton discussed it rationally and reasonably. He pointed out shortcomings, beginning with the fact that it doesn’t reform health care and doesn’t really reduce costs. “It’s really insurance reform and a really little bit of health reform,” he said.
At the same time, he said, we’re better off with it than without it.
Filed under: Understanding The New Law | Tagged: Affordable Care Act, columbia, Dr. Stuart Hamilton, Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers, Health Care Reform, Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, medicaid, South Carolina, Warren Bolton | Leave a Comment »