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Some doctors not feeling well about health care bill
by Gary Kent
Mar 17, 2010 | 1276 views | 4 4 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Deborah Bailey expresses her opinion about the health care proposal before Congress this week in front of U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa's office Tuesday morning.
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With members of Congress trying to push through controversial health care reforms, three Beeville doctors commented on the prospect of government getting more involved in the medical business.

Although they had differing opinions, the one aspect the doctors agreed upon, however, was a limited role by government.

“I’m probably more liberal than a lot of doctors,” Dr. Frank Dehnisch said.

However, No. 9 of a 10-item list of improvements he would like to see in the system is that “the government should set standardized rules to protect the consumer and a basic insurance option, then stand aside to allow innovation.”

“I have some concerns about the government running another aspect of our economic GNP (gross national product),” said Dr. Joseph Larakers. “I’m a free market kind of guy.”

“If we have socialized medicine, it will result in a collapse of good medical care,” said Dr. James Chandler. “Good doctors are going to be gone.”

“I don’t think all their ideas are terrible,” Larakers said. “I think access will be limited. There will probably be some rationing.”

Larakers said he expects that rural areas will be hardest hit by rationing.

“I think fewer people will want to become physicians,” Larakers added. “Most doctors want to treat people, not deal with bureaucratic paperwork.”

Chandler agreed with the impact of more bureaucracy in medicine. He mentioned the current problems with Medicare and Medicaid, the two most prevalent government-controlled medical programs in the country, as examples.

“I’ve got three people and all they do is handle Medicare and Medicaid claims,” Chandler said.

“Medicare is part of the spin,” Dehnisch argued. He said the prescription drug program passed during the George W. Bush administration was a “big giveaway” to the pharmaceutical companies.

“The $500 billion in cuts to Medicare is just taking back what the Republicans gave to the insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals,” Dehnisch said.

Still, Dehnisch believes “the system is broke.”

So many of the current government regulations are so complicated that lawmakers must get the lobbyists to explain them.

Chandler believes the answer to providing quality care for the uninsured and for people who cannot afford insurance is as simple as a change in the income tax code.

He said if he were allowed to deduct the cost of treatment for the uninsured from his income tax, he could afford to treat anyone who needs it.

He suggested allowing a person with AIDS to buy a life insurance policy and then sign that over to the clinic treating him. Then, when and if the patient dies, the clinic is paid.

Chandler also recommended taking the middle men, the government and insurance companies, out of most of the medical care business.

“A lot of doctors are talking about opening an office and taking only cash,” Chandler said.

Both Chandler and Larakers expressed concern about the future of medical care if the government becomes even more involved.

Chandler said he expects that nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants will end up providing most of the medical care.

“The only good thing is that Congress will end up getting the same care,” Chandler said.

“They think they’re not,” Chandler said, mentioning the fact that Congress has been careful to exempt themselves from the same system they are planning for the rest of the country. “They’ve got Bethesda (the Navy hospital in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C.).”

“But if you’re going to have to graduate bad doctors to fill quotas, they’re going to end up working for Bethesda. If they ruin health care, they ruin it for everybody.”

Larakers agreed that more government involvement could result in fewer of society’s brightest people entering the medical profession.

“As medicine has become more bureaucratic, I think people are already leaving the profession,” he said. “I just don’t think government should take over a major portion of the economy.”

Dehnisch was much more direct in offering his suggestions.

“The health care system is slowed by the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the current billing and record-keeping system and the complexity of the governmental regulations,” he said. “Therefore, health care costs can be reduced by a number of simple maneuvers:

1) There should be a central computerized database for each patient controlled by the patient.

2) There should be standardization of insurance coverage into a number of limited categories.

3) Each patient should have an insurance card that could be swiped like a credit card and their charges immediately calculated and credited to the respective health care provider.

4) Every health care provider should have openly posted prices for all services.

5) There should be a public option with basic coverage.

6) The private insurance companies could offer coverage in one of the standardized categories with a carefully crafted list of hospitals and physicians.

7) There has to be a minimum payment based on a sliding fee scale for each patient’s use of the system.

8) Every individual must have coverage for the system to succeed.

9) The government should set standardized rules to protect the consumer and provide a basic insurance option, then stand aside and allow innovation.

10) The hospitals, physicians, labs and other health care providers should be free to innovate as long as their health care outcomes are good.”

Comments
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Lawyer
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March 18, 2010
T-Boom#64, right you are ... the Doc had his own x-ray machine in the office, took blood tests himself, and gave me a Coca Cola (10oz bottle) if I didn't cry when I got a shot. He stiched up gashes in his clinic and set broken arms on occasion. To my knowledge he was never sued and was well-loved by both rich and poor in the community. Lawyers weren't looking over his evry act and patients weren't looking for "free money."

I too believe some poor young patients will break out the cycle; but our present day system of entitlements and mores which forbid judgments about behavior and stiffels a guilty conscience will make it hard to do so.

If this healthcare bill passes, you are right: We'll need a heck of a lot more tax payers.
texasboomer64
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March 18, 2010
Lawyer, in 1974 you saw only one doctor, he examined you and diagnosed you right away. if your mother was in the nursing home he visited her everyday. if your wife had a baby she stayed in the hospital 3 days or more. since "managed care" you are now cut up like a pie, referred , referred. i am sure you know why this is happening. i really hope things will get better, but i doubt it. i do believe that some those poor young parents will break the cycle , complete their education and become taxpayers. we really need them.
Lawyer
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March 18, 2010
In 1974, I could walk into a doctor’s clinic with a head-cold, pay $25, get a prescription for antibiotics, go to a drugstore with my prescription, pay the pills and never show an insurance card. Things have certainly changed.

I suspect the change is another aspect of Johnson's "Great Society" whereby no person is to be held accountable for their foolishness. In our "Great Society," the government provides the "safety net," not charities. As a result, the "entitled" persons, who cannot or will not pay their own way, clog our clinics.

Look around the waiting room during your next doctor visit, identify the Medicade patients, and consider that they could somehow afford cell phones upon which they're texting their paramour (who’s at the Court-house with his court-appointed lawyer), they can afford the intricate tattoo artwork adorning their bodies, qualified for the loan on their late-modeled car parked in from of the clinic, and buy the McDonald’s Happy Meal they purchased for each of their four children (wearing Nike tennis shoes). Fortunately, upon receiving their medications, they will have the opportunity to recuperate in their subsidized home while watching their big-screen television (at least until Color-Time truck arrives to repossess it). Dang! That sounds bitter and uncompassionate, doesn’t it?

Freedom is not freedom unless you are free to fail as well as free to succeed. Freedom is the unrestrained opportunity to make choices and to reap the consequences of those choices, good or bad. Choose to have a baby out of wedlock at fourteen years of age and reap the rewards of motherhood. Let your 14-year-old daughter go out with her 17-year-old boyfriend and reap the rewards of grandparenthood.

The “Healthcare Crisis” is a symptom of “Johnson’s Disease” or “the Great Society.” The gang problem, the drug problem, the decrease in the actual education our kids receive, these are all symptoms of the “Nanny-State.” Obamma-Care will only exacerbate our health care crisis because it ultimately only redistributes wealth thereby destroying initiative and responsibility.
jaguarsky
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March 18, 2010
A question for the Dr. who has 3 folks to handle medicare and medicaid paperwork; how many do you have handling private insurance paperwork, and how do your fees reflect the different payment formulas allowed by different companies vs. medicare/medicaid? Oh, I guess that was two questions.