Story Leads to Help for Couple Bankrupted by Group Health Insurance

Eugene and Yukiko Gatlin, former patients of Group Health who went bankrupt paying its insurance premiums, have found affordable health care. Actually, it's free. After reading our September 1 profile of the Gatlins, Norm Wu, CEO of the boutique primary care provider Qliance, contacted Seattle Weekly and offered to help.

Qliance, which maintains a newly opened clinic in Kent in addition to one in Seattle, does not work through insurance, but charges patients a flat monthly fee for primary care. When Wu reached Eugene Gatlin, the Qliance exec offered to waive the fee until they could afford it, probably in six months' or a year's time, according to Gatlin. They willingly accepted--"miracles do happen", he says-- although Gatlin still isn't sure what that means for the cost of the couple's medication. He needs drugs for diabetes, she for arthritis. He expects to find out at their first appointment at the Kent clinic on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the political fight over health care reform continues. A Group Health doctor today forwarded an advertisement placed today in the Seattle Times by the King County Academy of Family Physicians. "Now is the Time for Health Care Reform," it read. While it avoids taking a stance on what kind--public option or no?--it's still significant that some doctors are coming out for changes are viewed with such hostility by others.

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