By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Dr. Ed Hill, former president of the American Medical Association, and Jason Dees, a family physician, agree that something needs to be done to reform health care, but neither feels the bill passed by the House of Representatives on Sunday is the answer.
“Now that it’s passed, nobody knows what it means and that’s the problem,” said Hill. “No one knows how it will affect them personally and we all are worried about how we are going to pay for it. There are just so many questions to be answered.”
Hill said it reminds him of when Medicare was passed in 1965. He said the Medicare program has done a lot of good things for people, but it has been unable to sustain itself financially.
“This bill is disgraceful and dysfunctional, in my opinion,” Hill said. “I don’t know what’s going on with it and I’m in the business. I’m all for reforming health care, but in a responsible, affordable manner and this isn’t it.”
Dees echoed many of Hill’s points, saying he agrees the system needs reform, but he wasn’t sure if this bill is what’s needed.
“The bill currently being passed in the U.S. House fails to fix the largest problem facing Mississippi’s seniors,” said Dees. “There is a very real possibility that in coming months, those people covered by Medicare will not be able to find a doctor to care for them. The reason is that the SGR formula will result in a 21 percent decrease in reimbursement to health care providers for caring for our nation’s elderly and disabled. This is simply an unsustainable business model. Therefore, seniors may face long wait times if they are able at all to find someone to care for them.”
The SGR formula determines the amount physicians are paid for caring for seniors.
Dees also said people must not forget that many of the supposed benefits of the current health care reform law do not begin until 2013-2014, yet taxes will increase within the next few months.