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Health care concerns aired

January 17, 2001

Health care concerns aired



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Concerns about the quality of health care, preserving the dignity of those receiving medical assistance and cutting health care-related red tape were on the minds of more than 55 people who attended a public meeting on health care reform Wednesday evening at Hagerstown Community College.

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Members of Maryland Health Care for All, a grassroots coalition of state and local groups working to provide health coverage for all Maryland residents, recorded the questions and stories of those who spoke.

The information will be complied and used to design a health-care program, said Vince DeMarco, executive director of Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative, which runs the coalition.

The group isn't proposing a one-size-fits-all approach to health care and the program that results would let those who have good health care plans keep them, he said.

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Once formulated, the plan will go before the Maryland General Assembly, he said.

"What are the problems you've had with health care here and what are your suggestions for a solution?" DeMarco asked the audience.

A woman questioned whether the health-care plan the coalition eventually will formulate would work when a resident got sick in another state.

DeMarco said the health plan would have to address that issue.

Martha Cornwell of Hagerstown said she has good health insurance but has had problems cutting through red tape to get referrals to see her allergist.

Cornwell also told the group about seeing a man at a doctor's office repeatedly ask the cost of a chest X-ray he needed, only to be told by medical professionals that they didn't know.

"It indicates not only a problem with the cost, but I think that the quality (of health care) is deteriorating," she said.

One man suggested the state operate pharmacies and provide discounted drugs to those in need.

Maintaining the dignity of those without insurance who need medical care should be a priority, another man said.

"I think something should be done about health care. I feel it shouldn't be a business," said Lori Kaylor of Big Pool.

Kaylor said she works two part-time jobs and has to pay for her own health care.

She has noticed that an increasing number of employers are offering part-time jobs in what she believes is an effort to avoid insurance costs for full-time employees, she said.

Kaylor said she was concerned that older people might not getting the health care they need because they are afraid of what the care might cost.

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