Doctor charity
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Re "Utah lawmakers back charity care instead of Medicaid expansion" (Tribune, March 12):

Rep. Michael Kennedy, R-Alpine, is a family practice physician, and his assertion that charity care by doctors is an adequate substitute for broad health care insurance coverage is naive at best.

It is also an insult to the physicians in this state. I suspect the vast majority of Utah's doctors regularly write off significant costs of care for services rendered to those unable to pay. This is charity care.

I graduated from medical school in 1981. The practice of accommodating those of lesser financial means has been an expected practice for me and my colleagues. As Kennedy is employed by the University of Utah Health Care system, perhaps he is insulated from this reality.

Kennedy's assertion also ignores the lack of ability to provide a system of coordinated care through fragmented, informal "charity" care. It surprises me that this proposal would come from someone trained in family practice, a group that has emphasized the benefits of care coordination for many years.

Doug Hasbrouck, M.D.

Riverton