Facing America’s Health Care Crisis – Chico Enterprise-Record

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I have been very lucky in the field of health. Thanks to a combination of good genes and some good choices, I hit my 70s in pretty good shape. Until very recently, most of my doctor visits were for sports injuries.

I was also lucky with health care. I have had lasting, stable and positive relationships with health care providers. The same eye care professional for over 40 years and the same primary care physician for over 20 years. These long relationships with people who know me have made a huge difference. In the next few years, just as I reach the age where I will probably need more health care, they will probably both retire.

I’m not looking forward to that because American primary care is an absolute mess. American medical education is far too expensive and we train far too few doctors. Primary care is underpaid compared to surgical or procedural specialties. Heavy student debt is pushing doctors to choose high-paying specialties over primary care. Have you tried to find a new primary care provider in Chico lately? Good luck.

In many other countries, the primary care picture is much better. These countries have truly universal coverage systems that free doctors and patients from the bondage of insurance companies. They train more doctors and make medical education cheaper. We must learn from this example. If we don’t, a care crisis awaits us.

—David Welch, Chico

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