Health care weekend – Patriotism, public health and health care; Fred Rottnek, MD

Dr. Fred Rottnek, chief physician in corrections medicine for St. Louis County and physician to many of the area’s poor and indigent, has worked on the frontline of the nation’s growing health care crisis. He sees the toll exacted by the state of Missouri on its most helpless citizens. In 2006, Missouri cut almost 100,000 people from Medicaid, the first state to do so. Without this safety net, many don’t have access to the most basic health care. Nearly 50 million Americans and a million Missourians are unable to afford health insurance. Dr. Rottnek questions a brand of patriotism consisting of weaponry and war while ignoring the health of its citizenry. Believing the country and state can do a better job of maintaining the common good, he makes a case for adequate health care for everyone.

In addition to his post with St. Louis County, Dr. Rottnek is the director of Community Services at the Institute for Research and Education in Family Medicine and the assistant director of the Master of Arts in Health Care Ministry program at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.

Dr. Rottnek was awarded the James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year (now termed Ethics In Action) Award in 2006 for his advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and underserved in the St. Louis area.