Those medical doctors who were hosted at the White House last week as they spoke in favor of the Obama health care reform plan certainly represent some physicians. But a Missouri urologist wants it known those “docs in frocks” at the White House don’t speak for all physicians.
Doctor Sophia Ford-Glanton, a Hannibal-based urologist, is part of what is known as the Sermo community. It’s a group of about 10,000 doctors from across the country who recently delivered what they call their US Physicians Appeal to all Senators at their Capitol Hill offices. These physicians say they believe in pragmatic reform, not politically negotiated reform.
“The current legislation, in its form, is that it does not take into consideration health insurance reform,” said Doctor Ford-Glanton in an interview with the Missourinet. “It doesn’t take into consideration tort reform or any kind of malpractice reform, nor does it take into consideration the actual cost of insuring everybody or mandating that everybody is insured.”
Costs to doctors are a major concern, especially with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and there is a fear that additional government involvement in health care will lead to additional costs for physicians. Doctor Ford-Glanton says the view among many in the Obama Administration is that doctors are greedy, with the White House proposing nothing to cut costs with which physicians are saddled.
“If you look at every dollar that you spend on your medical health, less than 60 cents of every dollar is being spent actually on you and on you medical care and on your physician,” said Doctor Ford-Glanton. “The other 40 cents is going to pay for insurance, administration, meeting specific requirements. I mean, there is so much money lost from each dollar that’s just being used to take care of something else other than you.”
Doctor Ford-Glanton rejects suggestions that doctors in this country should be more like doctors abroad whose education and salaries are paid by the governments in the countries in which the physicians live. She points out doctors in this country spend years paying off debts incurred during their schooling and cannot be expected to give away their skills without adequate remuneration.
“It’s almost forced slavery on physicians,” said Doctor Ford-Glanton. “You take from us what we’ve learned, what we’ve trained to do – a skill that we’ve expected to be reimbursed for – and then tell us we have to give it away for free or give it away for pennies on the dollar because that’s what the government says.”
On Tuesday, a key U.S. Senate committee is expected to vote on a health care reform bill that could be the one sent to the floor of the Senate.