Urology Times -December 2010 - (Page 28)
What’s Your Experience?
E X AMINING UROLOGISTS’ OPINIONS O N TO DAY’S CR ITIC AL ISSUES I N M E D ICI N E
Urologists: Repairing reform better than repealing it
Karen Nash | UT COLUMNIST
i ith the results of the midt term elections barely t tabulated, health care r reform again came to t the forefront as a topic of hot debate last month. A number of newly elected and re-elected Republican lawmakers are vowing to repeal the health care legislation passed in the spring. Urology Times wanted to gauge urologists’ opin ions on t he reform law, including whether they think it should be repealed.
Should the health care reform law be repealed or fixed?
health care reform,” Dr. Steckel said. “We’ve got to revamp our system so we can afford universal coverage. “They’re asking the right questions, such as, ‘Is everything we’re doing necessary?’. There’s a lot of duplication in our health care system, and this should help get more control over ordering tests, and that costs a heck of a lot of money.”
“It’s everybody’s unassailable right to have health care. Now we have to ﬁgure out how to pay for it.”
JEFFREY STEINBERG, MD
‘No question this is good’
Jacques Susset, MD, a professor emeritus of surgery at Brown University in Providence, RI, has been practicing urology for 55 years, 33 of which been in Joph Steckel, MD “Repealing the bill is not have United the Manhasset, NY a solution. They need to States. For Jeffrey Steinberg, MD him, the Hartford, CT focus on how to make it need for this law shouldn’t Jacques Susset, MD better.” even be Barrington, RI called into CHRIS B. THREATT, MD Chris B. Threatt, MD question. Atherton, CA Perhaps surpris“It’s a first step,” Dr. Susset said. “I’ve Joseph W. Williams, MD ingly, most of the practiced in France and Canada. There’s Boise, ID u rologists i nter- no question this is good. People need to viewed said they pre- be protected. ferred to see the law repaired rather than “Without the government, we would not repealed altogether. For several urologists, have Medicare or Social Security. There is the concept behind reform was strong, but a need. We are not living at the time of the the logistics of implementing it are daunting. Constitution, as the Republicans Jeffrey Steinberg, MD, from Hartford, wish.” CT, falls into that category. In Atherton, CA, Chris B. Threatt, “I like the concept of universal cover- MD, said, “The incentives for EMR age. All physicians would like to get paid are good. That part I liked. Those for what they do. The uninsured number is incentives are a nice addition. The just going to continue to be a growing prob- desire to move physicians to a more lem, so the concept is good,” Dr. Steinberg uniform communication system is said. “The problem is how we get there— s good for the patients. That was whether it’s a public option or completely definitely a win.” privatized. How does it get funded?” Other urologists found it harder In Manhasset, NY, Joph Steckel, MD, is to see anything good about the another urologist who stands behind the bill. concept. “I would say I found nothing positive,” “With the graying of America and the said Joseph W. Williams, MD, of Boise, ID. burden of health care for the Medicare “The end result was arrived at in a wrongpopulation, we certainly are in need of headed fashion. It is a set of noble ideals
that should have been discussed, but it became an accommodation to large political influences like the hospitals, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers.” Urologists also listed plenty of facets of the bill they don’t like. “The government wants to pay for the reform out of increased charges for insurance, medical devices, and drug costs,” said Dr. Williams, who has been in practice for 15 years. “Those companies will just pass that expense on to the people who buy them. We’ll be charged more for medical equipment and we just have to eat that. I’ve seen no protections on what could be passed on to the consumer.” Extending the patent protection received by pharmaceutical companies was cited as one of Dr. Threatt’s objections to the bill. Not taking Medicare reimbursement rates away from the sustainable growth rate formula was also disheartening, he said. “That puts us in a position where Congress threatens us with a 20% cut in
“We have to revamp what we’re working with and gradually transition to the system.”
JOPH STECKEL, MD
Medicare fees every 3 to 6 months because they say there’s no money to cover the cost,” Dr. Threatt said. “A lot of physicians, like myself, are constantly on the
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