Walker’s right about Medicaid, but his reasons are wrong

Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), April 27, 2011

The only correct statement in Gov. Scott Walker’s op-ed column in The New York Times is that Medicaid is obsolete — but not for the reasons he states.

To illustrate, the following scenarios occurred in Wisconsin hospitals (not Madison). One morning while preparing to perform ear surgery on a boy, I was confronted by his anesthesiologist. As he pointed out the child’s health insurance coverage (Medicaid), he stated that “if all you are going to do is to bring this *** in here, you don’t need to come here.” Similarly, I was called to another hospital urgently to remove a coin from a child’s esophagus as none of the doctors in my specialty took “welfare” patients.

We have a dysfunctional, segregated, unjust, costly medical and dental system, which places our citizens in a perverse health insurance caste system. By providing for “more flexibility,” Walker’s system and Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher system would ensure that the budget deficits would be reduced not by lowering costs for everyone equally, but by further eliminating the poor, the disadvantaged children, the elderly, and the too-costly from its rolls. Does your governor or doctor determine your right to equal access to health care?

Not mentioned in Walker’s column: While “I Dream of Jeannie” hit the airwaves in 1965, Canada instituted its “Medicare for ALL” system. Canada’s health care system justly covers ALL citizens equally, at half our costs, with a 5-10 percent overhead, not 31 percent waste ($600 billion a year) profiting the insurance corporations.

Dr. Timothy Shaw
Fitchburg, Wis.

Maureen Engelberger: Attitude toward Medicaid should concern us all

Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), May 2, 2011

Dear Editor: I was compelled to respond to the letter written by Dr. Timothy Shaw in The Capital Times concerning Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts in Medicaid. When caring doctors such as Shaw witness other medical professionals who are not willing to service a Medicaid patient, this should make all of us concerned about our current health care system.

My granddaughter was born with Rett syndrome — she didn’t have a choice. She has a very supportive family; we do everything we can to give her what she needs. She is a U.S. citizen who deserves Medicaid for her health care. I was very concerned about the “negative” remark made by the anesthesiologist, who was obviously perturbed when dealing with a Medicaid situation. If we have health care providers with that attitude, I would be concerned not only as a surgeon but as a patient. Where was that anesthesiologist when he was taking the Hippocratic Oath?

This situation makes me very concerned about where health care has gone and where it is going. I agree that the great USA should have “Medicare for ALL” in place of our current ever-rising health care insurance costs. It is obvious that Canada has gotten it right since 1965.

Maureen Engelberger

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