Physician Roll Call: The Current State of American Health Care


Surgeons, cardiologists, pediatricians, endocrinologists and more share their thoughts on the uncertain health care climate in the US.

How do physicians feel about the uncertain state of American health care? Their opinions are as varied as their specialty areas and the patients they treat.

Jared Huston, MD: Unfortunately, if patients don't have access to good health care, they present in the emergency room at a time when something could've been treated earlier, maybe at an earlier stage when it's less severe. But unfortunately, they present later due to, again, problems with access to health care, and finances, and things like that.

So I think the more people struggle to have access to health care, the more emergency room visits go up, that's pretty well known.

Robert Courgi, MD: It's frightening cause we want to provide the best care possible for our patients, but at the same time we want quality involved with that as well. When you see all the questions in the White House and in the Senate, it trickles down to how we make decisions. I'll still always put the patient first but the cost is an issue.

Adam Litroff, MD: As far as how the repeal of this or the change of this may impact us, that's something we won't really know until we have an idea of exactly what are the specifics of the plan.

But from the perspective of the ACA (Affordable Care Act), in some senses I think it's actually increased some of our overcrowding. In the sense that you've basically provided people who previously did not have coverage, coverage.

You've now increased the amount of outpatient visits that are available to providers without increasing the provider pool. So, by that happening, more people are seeking care that perhaps weren't earlier, and when they can't get care outpatient they're going to come to us in the emergency department.

This isn't something that has an easy answer to it. I think that having more physician involvement in politics and more physician presence in Washington to be able to really have our voices significantly be louder, as opposed to only going through our lobbying bodies will certainly help with that, because that way the people who are involved with writing the actual plans will be physicians.

Lauren Licati, MD: I think people, when they're making decisions in Washington and when they're making decisions about where the money should go, they don't see that human face.

There's definitely areas that need reform, but I think all of us physician-wise need to be at the table.

Vijay Singh, MD: When you're a physician you have to kind of just put your blinders on and move forward. It is what it is, there's not much you can do about it. There are obviously things as they come up, you have to adapt. Right now, there hasn't been a major change in my practice in the last 4 or 5 years versus what it was now versus 4 years ago.

My gut feeling is I don't think there will be a tremendous change from a physician level, no matter what occurs - a drastic change, I must say.

Peter Finamore, MD: I do think that having, you know, a degree of uncertainty with what's going to be happening with insurance coverage, as the aging population is expanding, how Medicare is really going to cover the older patient population which seems to be getting bigger and bigger, and a large proportion of the patients that urogynecologists deal with, I certainly think all of us are kind of concerned about how that's going to be.

Leonardo Huertas, MD: It has not really impacted us significantly. The people that are impacted significantly are those that have high deductible plans. When they come to the hospital or the emergency department or go see their physicians, it costs them a significant amount of money before their plans pick up anything.

So, I'm not sure how the new plan will change that for them. You're always concerned when people might lose insurance, or might lose coverage, or might have decreased coverage, because in the end, health is the most important thing any of us have.

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