State needs a doctor, not a lawyer

November 02, 2003

Dear Editor:

Health care is one of the most critical issues facing Kentucky today.

Health insurance costs for businesses and individuals have forced individuals to sometimes choose between food and health care. Industries are leaving our state or choosing to locate in more favorable market areas. Our elderly population simply can't afford needed medication. Nearly 500,000 Kentuckians have no health insurance at all. This results in a much sicker population than the rest of the country. Our Medicaid system is broken and is actually forcing seniors out of nursing homes.

We face a malpractice crisis with Kentucky identified by the American Medical Association as one of the 18 worst states in the country. A survey done by the Kentucky Medical Association found that we've lost 800 physicians in the last three years with 31 percent moving to neighboring states that have more favorable laws for liability insurance. Women have to travel many miles to have their babies delivered.


Dr. Ernie Fletcher, a physician, has first-hand experience with all these problems. I have worked with him in Washington and know he is one of the most respected advocates for patients. President Bush and congressional leaders turned to him lead the fight for a Patients' Bill of Rights. He sat on or chaired the most important health-care committees. He wrote innovative bills to improve health care, including prescription drugs for elderly, Medicaid reform, insurance affordability for small businesses, and medical liability insurance reform.

He has a clearly stated health care plan that will work, including affordable prescription drug plan, medical malpractice reform, a tele-health initiative, enhancing competition and lowering health care costs, regulatory reform, preventative care, modernizing Medicaid, and planning for tomorrow's health workforce. (See

On the other hand, Ben Chandler is backed by the people that drove up insurance costs and drove out health insurance companies. He has the backing of the trial lawyers association, to the tune of $500,000, and will fight against any real liability insurance reform.

I strongly encourage the citizens who feel, like the great majority of physicians in Kentucky, that we need new and knowledgeable leadership in the health-care arena, to get out and vote for Dr. Ernie Fletcher Tuesday. We need a physician, not a lawyer, in the governor's office to deal with this crisis.

Dr. Scott B. Scutchfield


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