Sidelining Federal (lack of) Health Care
September 14, 2007
San Francisco Takes Unique Approach to Providing Medical Care for All
By KEVIN SACK
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 5 — Diagnosed with polio at age 2, Yan Ling Ho has lived with pain for most of her 52 years. After immigrating here from Hong Kong last year, the soreness in her back and joints proved too debilitating for her to work.
That also meant she did not have health insurance. Not wanting to burden her daughter, who was already paying her living expenses, Ms. Ho delayed doctor visits and battled her misery with over-the-counter medications.
“Sometimes the pain was so bad, I would just cry,” she said. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Last month, unable to bear her discomfort any longer, Ms. Ho came to North East Medical Services, a nonprofit community clinic on the edge of Chinatown, and discovered to her delight that she qualified for a new program that offers free or subsidized health care to all 82,000 San Francisco adults without insurance.
The initiative, known as Healthy S…