Sunday, July 27, 2014

We Can't Do Everything. But We Do Everything We Can.

Originally Published on on August 14th,2011
The constitutional struggle around Obamacare sputters along.  Here’s the latest report from Shaun Martin, who blogs on Ninth Circuit decisions.  The Pacific Justice Institute neglected to say anything about whether or not their plaintiff had insurance so the case was dismissed for lack of standing.  It’s a little like the judge saying “You didn’t say Simon says, so you lose.”   Sometimes I’m really glad I didn’t go to law school.
In the mean time, people with low income struggle to get reasonable medical care.  Some people are focused on actually doing something about that like my friend, Dr. Kirsten Carter.  The title of this post is what she said to a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel in a recent article. She is one of the founders of Grace Medical Home.      I describe being a patient at Grace Medical as similar to being a member of an HMO.  Dr. Carter has some patience with the analogy but they are actually trying to do somewhat better than that for the working poor of Central Florida.  Grace is a “medical home”:
A medical home is not a building, house or hospital, but rather an approach to providing continuous, comprehensive primary care. Think of a medical home as a hub or home base where a patient’s medical history is known and their medical care is coordinated.  Patients have an ongoing and personal relationship with their physician and a place to turn for their healthcare needs.
The motivation behind Grace is explicitly Christian, as this clip makes clear:

This has not prevented physicians of other faiths or no faith from also volunteering their services.  Heartening as this is, it is not that surprising.  The world’s religions and secular humanism are actually pretty consistent on the subject of how we are supposed to be treating each other. She told me that 178 physicians provide free services to Grace.  Patients can also get their prescriptions filled there often with subsidies from thepharmaceutical companies.  Patients with income below 200% of the poverty level pay a $20 registration fee and a $20 per visit fee.  Many of them will offer an extra $20 to cover somebody else.  Most funding comes from charitable contributions and subsidies from the hospitals, which benefit from taking pressure off the emergency rooms, which would be the alternative many of Grace’s patients would have to rely on.

It would be unsporting of me to suggest that the Thomas More Law Center (They didn’t blow the standing issue so their case is proceeding to the Supreme Court) could use its resources more fruitfully by helping to get organizations like Grace Medical going in other cities.  The constitutional struggle will have to play out.  Regardless of the outcome, though, none of us want to live in a country where basic medical needs are not met.  Somehow or other, it will have to get done.  In the meantime, I’m glad that there are people like Doctor Carter.
About the image - Grace Medical’s major fundraiser is a dinner event calledLet’s Say Grace.  Table sponsors bring their own food and decorate their table according to a theme of their choice and wear appropriate costumes.  Dr. Carter’s group chose the iconic TV show MASH.  It is fairly apparent who Dr. Carter is portraying.  Her husband Daryl Carter, who is prominent in Central Florida real estate (featured in Forbes, no less), insists that he is not to be confused with Major Frank Burns.

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