‘Charity care’ on the decline
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The percentage of American doctors who provide charity care to the uninsured continues to decrease. A new report from the Center for Studying Health System Change shows the decline has been going on for a decade. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.
The report shows the decline in charity care has spread across all major medical specialties and geographical regions. And it comes at a time when the number of uninsured in the U.S. has increased to nearly 46 million people.
Dr. Ted Maser is president of the San Diego County Medical Society.
Maser: "Government has an obligation to make sure the uninsured have access to care. It's not the private doctor who's responsible. We have a moral obligation and an ethical obligation to try to help. But we're not responsible for that, nor should we be asked to pay for it."
Maser suggests the government should boost funding for community clinics. And he says if insurance companies would pay better, doctors could afford to deliver more free care.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.