Letter to the Editor

December 04, 2009

All organizations are in need of our support

To the editor:

In this downturned economy, all health and social service organizations are in need of your support.

However, if your child is sick, you have no health insurance, you're unemployed and you're having difficulty buying groceries, let alone paying your mortgage, what do you do? If you feel a lump in your breast, have a cough that doesn't go away, or you or your wife is pregnant, your cupboard is bare and you're two months late on rent, what do you do? If you're broke, depressed or struggling with an addiction, what do you do?

Paying bills when you've been laid off work is difficult enough under any circumstances. But it is particularly difficult when you or your loved one is sick, without insurance and needs to see a doctor.

In this holiday season of spirituality, family celebration and thanksgiving, I want to encourage everyone who is able to consider making a generous contribution to the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic. Some apparently think that with health care reform pending, the financial needs of the free clinic will soon be solved. As a result, the level of individual contributions is down.


Unfortunately, the demand for clinic services is high and rising. Recently, the clinic found it necessary to limit new admissions despite increased demand. However, as a health policy professional immersed in the health care reform debate, I'm here to tell you the clinic needs your support now more than ever.

While it is true that expanding coverage for the uninsured is a primary focus of health care reform, the politics of power and the divisiveness over details could easily derail Congress' ability to pass meaningful reform. Most insiders do not expect any health reform bill to pass until early next year, if at all. It also is important to keep in mind that even if legislation is passed, many of the key provisions are not even scheduled for implementation until 2013 to 2015.

So during this holiday season, think about making a generous contribution to the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic. It is not only one of the more important safety net services in our community, but it is extremely well-managed. Your dollar will be well spent on quality health services for a group of people who have nowhere else to turn in time of illness and distress.

Rich Bringewatt
president, National Health Policy Group
Charles Town (W.Va.) City Council member

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