Letter: Cassidy plays ‘doctor card’

“Cassidy opens new clinic” blares the headline (Advocate May 5), by Jordan Blum, atop Page 1B; but does he really? Read on.

Scrutinizing this press release masquerading as news suggests (but never actually tells us) that Dr. Cassidy is continuing to serve the same former Earl K. Long clinic population, now in a new five-story building built by, and near to, the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, as a result of closure of EKL clinics. This is either old news or nonnews depending on how you look at it, spun to mislead the public into believing that Cassidy is embarking on some new humanitarian venture.

As a grizzled (40 years in the arthritis clinic) veteran of the EKL, I share Cassidy’s love of medicine and teaching (and the patients). I am, however, puzzled by his singling out the Medicaid patients for “outreach.”

There are about eight different classifications of the patients, according to their insurance, or lack thereof, which are not usually noted unless there is some medication or related problem. Also his implacable opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not something I would think would endear him to Medicaid recipients, or any other EKL patients, when they vote.

Cassidy says (presumably of health care) “it’s a really complicated set of issues.” In that case he should be presenting to his constituents the facts on both sides of this problem. Instead we get only right-wing ideology regurgitated to us as revealed truth.

It may be a problem for a politician to disagree with the party line, but a physician should have a moral compass — a set of ethical values independent of politics. I believe that access to health care is a moral problem with a moral solution, which unfortunately is dependent on political will to achieve.

If Cassidy believes “when the government runs health care, the people don’t have power,” he should read Steven Brill’s stunning exposition of the plight of people who don’t have “too much government run health care,” or private insurance (see Time magazine, March 4). These people have the “power” to negotiate one-on-one with their hospital, doctors etc. to try to lower the outrageous “Chargemaster” charges reserved for the uninsured, or inadequately insured.

Doesn’t that make you want to cancel your Medicare or private insurance so that you won’t have a bureaucrat or bean-counter between you and your doctor or hospital?

Perhaps a better title for this gem would be, “Cassidy plays doctor card.”

Herb Dyer

retired physician
Baton Rouge