Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Wisdon Needed in Health Care Reform

Category: Access To Children's Health Care


On a recent weekend I watched five different programs on the news debating health care reform. On the weekend of March 23rd to 25th over a thousand doctors representing the AMA marched on Washington, D.C. to try and bring attention to the fact that they are locked out of Hillary Clinton's health care reform meetings. Presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt have tried to reform health care and up to this point no one has been successful. I sincerely hope that President Clinton is successful in lowering the cost of overall health care. Then the 37 million Americans presently out of the system can be cared for. Realistically, however, this is going to cost a lot of money and there are no easy answers. I pray that all people involved in the reform planning will use wisdom and look at the big picture with fair solutions for all and not overprotecting one group against another. I personally resent the attitude I feel politicians and the media have placed on doctors, blaming us for all the problems in health care. I believe there are problems at every level of health care brought on by basic human greediness and self-centeredness at all levels from patients to physicians and every group in between, including pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, hospitals and health care delivery professionals at every level. If we were all completely honest and altruistic we would not over-use and overtax our system so much and there would be plenty of care givers and funds to go around to fill in that 37 million person gap. If I were sitting across the table from Hillary Clinton right now, these are a few recommendations I would give her.

First, lets not change the part of our health care system that's working well. This includes most of the care givers and about 50% of our population who are satisfied and can afford insurance.

Second, lets place a co-pay system in place for all patients from medicaid to those insured to put the breaks on overuse and abuse of the system.

Third, encourage doctors to get more involved with the indigent by lowering malpractice insurance fees for those whose practice includes at least 25% indigent patients.

Fourth, raise the ceiling on medicaid coverage to support young couples who want to stay legally married and work but need help in providing for their children's medical care. Let them buy into the program at a fair reduced rate according to their income level.

Fifth, encourage every creative means possible to better reach those who are presently uninsured and under cared for. This means less red tape and restrictions and more support for indigent medical care givers. Primarily, I think we need to get the legal fears off of the backs of people who want to help the indigent but are afraid of being sued.

Finally, we should encourage more involvement in primary care by raising the fees for front line preventive and primary care and holding the line on the over-ballooned fees for most procedures and overuse of high technology by our specialists in particular. Hopefully this would encourage more young physicians to go into primary care and would, in so doing, help regulate the over use and abuse of our medical system.