To the Editor
I read "Health Reform in Massachusetts" as a primary care physician participating in Commonwealth Care since its inception, and as a volunteer in one day clinics providing free medical care for Americans who have no insurance.
In my office, Massachusetts health reform has allowed patients to benefit from advances in medicine that previously were beyond reach. They are now able to control their chronic illnesses and now longer relay on expensive episodic emergency care. Many have become contributors to society.
At each clinic, from Hartford to New Orleans, people repeat the same refrain "No insurance, no physician, no medical care". They are burdened by complications of chronic illness. Diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and coronary heart disease are advanced to a degree I witnessed before passage of Medicare and Medicaid. Each clinic has had 5-7 patients with acute exacerbations of their illnesses necessitating transportation to an emergency room.
The success of Massachusetts’s health reform should not be measured only in dollars, but also by its positive impact on its citizens.