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Free Clinics and Expensive Treatments

This was on my facebook feed today: Texas’ Other Death Penalty. It's about the limitations of free clinics, written by a medical student working at St. Vincent's Free Clinic in Galveston, Texas. It's an utterly heartbreaking article centering around:

...the free clinic is also where some people learn that there is no hope for the chemotherapy or surgery that they need but can't afford. When UTMB refuses to treat them, it falls to us to tell them that they will die of diseases that are, in fact, treatable.

Besides discussing the short-comings of relying on the ER to handle all the dire healthcare needs of poor people, the author also talks about the relative scarcity of low-cost/free health care options in the region. On Perry's refusal to accept the ACA/expanded medicaid:

For doctors, the message was not only that our patients' lives don't matter, but also that medicine—our old profession, so full of people who genuinely want to help others—will continue to be part of the economic machine that entrenches poverty. When the poor seek our help, they often wind up with crippling debt.


It's a difficult and worthwhile read on how the politics and economics of healthcare are leading to needless deaths (9000/year in Texas according to the author).

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