Lawmakers can address barriers


To the Editor:

    Good health is the basis for a good life. And we can’t have good health without good healthcare.

    Hospitals and health systems are the front lines of healthcare. Accidents and emergencies don’t follow a schedule. On average, hospitals treat more vulnerable communities than other sites of care that include lower-income and patients with more complex conditions.

    I’m concerned that our communities will lose access to care because hospitals and health systems don’t have the support they need. Hospitals are facing workforce issues, battling with increased costs to provide care, and are only reimbursed 82 cents per dollar for care provided to Medicare patients. As a result, many hospitals are being forced to cut service lines or even close altogether due to financial strain. The impact of those service cuts and closures is clear—patients and communities lose access to vital care. This impact will be felt especially hard by underserved areas.

    Like so many immigrants, I moved to the United States because of the many opportunities and rights the country offers its citizens. I believe that access to high-quality healthcare is one of those rights. If we want to ensure this, lawmakers must ensure that our hospitals have the resources and support they need to keep the doors open. This means enacting legislation that helps address some of the issues they face — labor issues, supply costs, the general cost of care, and low reimbursement rates — not make it worse.

Ben Doko