Deseret News
Letter to the editor

During my medical training, a number of instances have tested my psyche. I’ve seen death and delivered unfortunate news more times than I’d care to. None of these experiences have troubled me more than a patient I recently cared for. Mr. A had chronic myeloid leukemia, a malignancy that can be controlled with oral medication. However, Mr. A couldn’t afford his medication as of May. He recently began to feel ill, prompting him to hitchhike to a Salt Lake City emergency department from rural Utah.

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His leukemia had progressed to the point of compromising his lung and kidney function. I watched him fight for every breath until he died shortly after I met him. Mr. A’s undignified death was unnecessary. It could have been avoided with access to life-saving medication. Utah Medicaid expansion would prevent such unnecessary outcomes for the most vulnerable individuals in our community.

Utah lawmakers made cuts to the voter-approved Medicaid expansion due to a projected budget deficit of $10.4 million. They're also proposing a $225 million tax cut. They have the money just not the will.

Jonathan Downie

Salt Lake City