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Letter: Health care focus should be on care

To the Editor:

Recently I developed an infection that required a visit to a local health clinic.

When I called the clinic and identified myself, the receptionist's first question was whether I still had insurance. After I assured her that I did, she made an appointment for me.

When I arrived at the clinic with chills and a high fever, the first question was whether my insurance was current. The second was a request for a co-pay. I paid for a prescription on the way home and am well again.

I had a similar but profoundly different experience as a student in Germany more than 40 years ago.

I had developed a bad respiratory infection with fever, chills and coughing. A German friend encouraged me to go to the clinic. When I told him that I was not sure that I had enough money, he said, "You are in Germany. Just take your passport and student ID, and you will be all right."

I had a high fever when I went to the clinic, but I remember clearly that the first question at the clinic was, "What is wrong with you?"

The doctor saw me, gave me some pills and sent me home. There was no charge, and I got well.

Obviously health workers need to be compensated for their services, but something is terribly wrong with a health care system more concerned about a patient's ability to pay than with curing the patient.

Chuck Rang

New Richmond