American flag with stethoscope

Watch the Frontline documentary, Divided States of America, to understand how healthcare policy is a war zone where political ideology takes precedence over the needs of the people.

Of all the forms of injustices, inequities are the most damaging to our health, our well-being, and our evolving human consciousness.

This quote above is adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

But equality does not equal equity. Educational, gender, and health equity assures that people have the right resources and the right care to achieve their highest potential of health, well-being, and human development. Equity includes women’s and LGBTQ rights.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement risks collateral healthcare damage to the American people. Let’s enhance the best and improve the rest.


Invitation to write an advocacy letter


I was invited by my family doctor organization to write an advocacy letter to my representatives in Charlotte (NC). I re-purposed their suggested points to advocate for universal access to healthcare and health equity. There is no affordable healthcare for all people without primary care.

Dear Sen Richard Burr (R), Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and Rep. Alma Adams (D),

As your constituent and a family doctor advocate for health equity, I urge you to support primary care medicine education programs to serve all people, especially in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and in rural areas.

We must build up our primary healthcare system and workforce to assure universal access to healthcare and health equity.

Health equity calls for radical innovations in our healthcare policies in order to serve the healthcare needs of all the people.

If every patient had access to a family doctor, we could reduce costs, increase quality, and provide value-based care to all. We must make primary care the foundation of our healthcare system.

As Congress makes healthcare reform, I urge you to greatly expand the vitally important roles of primary care clinical services, education, and research programs that are contained in the ACA.

1. Expand teaching health centers

  • Increase award grants to fund teaching health centers and community-based ambulatory patient care centers in order to expand primary care residency training in community-based ambulatory settings.

2. Re-authorize Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement of the PHS Act

  • Support the role of the Patient-Centered Medical Home to assure universal access to healthcare and health equity.

3. Establish a primary care extension program through the AHRQ

Enable primary care to:

  • Implement, disseminate, and evaluate best evidence-based practices
  • Develop translational science services to organize the health system to meet specific patient and population needs
  • Engage patients, communities, and practices to improve community health

4. Redesign Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) to:

  • Greatly increase the number of primary care physicians, especially in underserved areas.

5. Authorize the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCORI) trust fund

  • Improve patient care and outcomes through patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research.

I urge you to write to your representatives.

This was first published on LinkedIn on 01/20/17. It has been republished here with the author’s permission.

Rick Botelho, MD
Rick Botelho, MD is a family physician at Carolinas HealthCare System and Founder of Health Coaching Buddies. He is also the author of Motivational Practice Guidebook: Promoting Healthy Habits and Self-care of Chronic Diseases.


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