Don’t shame patients for seeking the care they need

By Inge De Becker, M.D.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Letters, July 25, 2015

A headline like “$2B wasted on hospital visits” (July 23) is not what prudent and sensible Minnesotans want from their medical system. Unfortunately, the jump headline says, “Patients wasted billions on avoidable hospital trips,” implying that the sick are the ones responsible for high medical costs. We know they are not, and the article itself nicely explains why people end up going to the ER — they can’t afford to receive, or don’t have adequate access to, preventive, primary or urgent care, or post-hospitalization checkups.

Minnesota can do better. We need a unified insurance system that exists for no other reason than to pay to meet the medical needs of all. Imagine that!

Dr. Inge De Becker is co-chair of Physicians for a National Health Program-Minnesota. She resides in St. Paul.