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Medical Care for the Poor

August 10, 1986

Your recent article on UC Irvine Medical Center pointed out the terrible problem that the poor are having in trying to obtain adequate medical care in this county. Orange County is one of the richest in California, with a per capita income way above many other areas, and is next to last when it comes to taking care of its poor and indigent.

The county Board of Supervisors has literally turned its back on the problem of providing adequate medical care for the people in this county who cannot find access through normal channels. It does this by reimbursing the University Hospital at much less than it costs per day to care for a patient in any hospital in Orange County.

This places a tremendous burden on the university, and the Board of Regents has to appropriate monies to keep this university hospital afloat to make up for the deficit created by the reluctance of the supervisors to pay a fair price for medical care.

Unfortunately, nobody speaks for the poor. They are unheard because of their lack of influence. Those of us who have cared for them for many many years, including most of the physicians in Orange County, are saddened and angry by this situation.

The people of California, therefore, wind up paying for the care of the poor in Orange County because the dollars come from the Board of Regents and are funneled down to the regents by the state. What a sad commentary on the county Board of Supervisors!



Sanford H. Anzel is a clinical professor in the UC Irvine department of orthopedic surgery.

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