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Health care headaches: Making a difference

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Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Dr. Peter Sotos has been doing his part to make health care accessible to people who are uninsured or underinsured since mid-December at his practice in the Medical Arts Building in East Franklin. He has opened his doors to walk-in traffic and is offering a discount to those who pay in cash.

He and his wife, Kristina, who doubles as office manager at the practice, said they were motivated to offer the new services because they saw dwindling numbers of people seeking medical care at area hospitals and doctors' offices — ostensibly because they couldn't afford to pay for it.

The problem could be rising insurance premiums that are making policies unobtainable for many people. Or it could be high deductibles that make insurance affordable, but only practical in the case of catastrophic illness. It takes a lot of office visits with a runny nose before a $1,000 or more deductible is reached. That's cash out of the pocket. And it is cash many people don't have.

The Sotos called it a travesty that economics are moving people to forgo needed medical care. It's hard to disagree.

It is too early to judge what kind of impact something as simple as offering a cash discount and walk-in hours at one doctor's office will have. But it's commendable that the doctor and his wife are trying to help ease what they recognized as a significant and growing health care issue in Armstrong County.

Right now it is only one doctor's office trying to make a difference. But it's a good start.

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