Dr. Stephen Sokol was correct to address the inequities of our current health care system (guest column, Sun Journal, July 26). Unfortunately, he failed to recognize the deficiencies of the system he purports to be superior, the Canadian Medicare system.

There is little question that a city in Canada the size of Lewiston, or even the size of Portland, would not have a cardiovascular center, or cancer treatment center, or even CT or MRI scanners. Without these essential facilities, there would be little reason for highly trained physician specialists to practice in such a location.

Dr. Sokol pointed to the Cardiovascular Institute in Lewiston as a “good example of excess.” As a cardiologist who has practiced in Lewiston for the past 16 years, I can attest to many patients who have suffered unnecessary disability, heart failure and death as direct results of inability to obtain timely angioplasty for their heart attack, before the service was available locally.

Immediate angioplasty for heart attack is now the standard of care in Lewiston, and our center has done a terrific job in ensuring this service is available to everyone in the community who needs it, regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. When you’re having a heart attack, “one of the best (cardiovascular centers) in the country” is not of much use if it’s “40 miles down the road.”

Roy J. Ulin, M.D., Lewiston

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