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Health-Care Cuts Endanger All of Society

May 14, 2003

Cutting deeper into the already fragile public health-care system, as "Judge Bars Cuts at County-USC" (May 9) suggests, will create severe wounds for people already in jeopardy. U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper is forcing us to look at a county health-care system that has too few resources and too many people to care for. Unfortunately, the county will look to cut in other places if Cooper's ruling holds. A third of the Venice Family Clinic's $12-million budget comes from the very public-private partnerships the county will look to cut. Translated into human terms, we're talking about 9,969 men, women and children. Some of our patients are healthy and need ongoing preventive and primary care. Many have diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Children with unmanaged asthma miss school, spend hours in hospital emergency rooms and risk death.

To deny people health care is a medical and moral crisis. It must be avoided at all costs. We cannot pit the fragile patients of Rancho Los Amigos against the thousands who are healthy because of clinics like ours. The health of all people -- insured and uninsured -- is at risk against a backdrop of flooded emergency rooms, overworked providers and the threat of a collapsing system. State and national leaders must locate the resources to solve this problem.

Elizabeth Benson Forer

Executive Director

Venice Family Clinic


I was horrified to read about the proposal considered by L.A. County supervisors to not allow private hospitals to transfer uninsured patients to public hospitals (May 11). What will this mean for those of us who are insured (at great personal expense)? Can we expect to be turned away from private hospitals or put on lengthy waiting lists while the private hospitals care for the uninsured, who are often illegal aliens?

Should we expect our local hospitals to go out of business, as any business that is forced to provide service without payment would? Will our bills for hospital visits rise as we are forced to compensate the hospitals for losses due to the uninsured patients? I believe all of these possibilities will become reality if this measure is passed.

Hannah Jannol

North Hollywood

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