Many who know him would describe Dr. Lester Pittle as a saint. As a doctor of internal medicine at Pike Market Medical Clinic, a community health clinic, Pittle has been an advocate for universal healthcare for over 30 years. He has treated low-income and homeless patients for conditions such as AIDS, mental illness, and substance abuse, as well as many low-income elderly. Pittle has been an active member of the Community Health Council, teaming up with other doctors to work for achievements like $250,000 grants towards better treatment for low-income diabetics.
Pittle believes that community health clinics are "band-aids for a broken system," and that a person's income should not define where they receive health care. "Thirty percent of healthcare costs go to the administrative costs of insurance companies," Pittle says. "If we could get rid of that 30 percent, we could insure everyone."
Pittle has done a lot to campaign for a bill that would create a tax-based trust fund which would act as universal health insurance. The system would eliminate the administrative costs of private insurance companies and was deemed effective by a University of Washington analyst.
The bill has not had the political backing to be passed, but Pittle is convinced that this is simply due to lack of awareness and hopes that people will become educated and vote toward an improved healthcare system.