The loss of rides to Iowa City for 10,000 patients is yet another blow to the uninsured in this area and health care in general. Rider usage by uninsured IowaCare patients has decreased by 8 percent in the past year, justifying elimination of the program. While it is admirable to use this money for direct patient care, it ignores the fact that patients cannot receive care if they cannot reach the facility. A University of Iowa official stated that patients needing transportation are being encouraged to return to their “medical homes.” IowaCare patients in 21 surrounding counties have no other medical home, except overburdened, understaffed, donation-funded free clinics. Uninsured patients, by design and in reality, rely upon the IowaCare program based at the university for primary, specialty and surgical care.
It is no wonder the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council study recently released showed the health of Americans ranked the lowest of 16 industrialized nations. We provide extraordinary care, if one has a way to get there and insurance to pay for it.
Dr. Mary Kemen