Local Doctors Sound Off on the Health Care Reform Bill

By: Josh Gauntt Email
By: Josh Gauntt Email

Tuesday, President Barack Obama made history signing into law the massive health care bill guaranteeing coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans.

The Bays Medical Society, made up of over 140 local doctors, is weighing in on the bill. Some of the doctors tell us this bill does have a little good news.

"We do believe access to health care is important and by eliminating pre-existing conditions," Dr. Jon Ward, President of the Bays Medical Society said.

"As on OBGYN, I do like the fact that the legislation will protect women who have had previous c-sections by considering them a previous health condition," Dr. Sam Wolf, a local OBGYN said.

But overall, doctors say just because millions will get coverage doesn't mean they will get care. Wolf says he hasn't even had time to read the over two-thousand page bill and believes a lot of the members of Congress who voted for it haven't read it either. Wolf thinks the government should have gotten more input from physicians.

"I'm not talking about physicians in bureaucracies or in medical schools. I'm talking about practicing physicians that are out there seeing patients," Wolf said.

Doctors believe one of the biggest faults of the bill is billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare.

"So if they are giving less money to a program to take care of more people, you cannot do this with starting to rationalize and deny care to our seniors and they are the people who need to most care," Ward said.

"All they're really doing is expanding the Medicaid program. There's no way you can force people to pay for insurance," Wolf said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here's how the bill would affect Floridians, 3.2 million seniors would receive free preventive care and over 500,000 seniors would receive half-price brand name drug through the Medicare Part "D" Doughnut Hole".

Some immediate effects of the bill include ending pre-existing conditions for children, small businesses will get some tax credits, and young adults up to age 27 will now be covered by their parent’s health insurance.

Of course, most of the effects in the bill will not be felt for years to come.

Doctors also argue their pay has either stayed the same or decreased over the last decade. They say if the trend continues, the amount of time you spend with a specialist could decrease. And it could force many doctors to shut-down their practices.

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