Become informed and defend your freedoms.  This is a website for citizens by an independent citizen.

How are the Doctors affected by Reform

A Doctor's Reflections on Health-Care Reform   WSJ article, June 2009

Physician payments can't be cut further. Ending frivolous lawsuits is a must

There has been much concern about the rapidly rising cost of health care. I am convinced that costs have increased for a few reasons. First, there are simply more patients in the system. The baby-boom generation has gotten older and now requires care for chronic medical problems. Second, we have unparalleled levels of obesity in our country. This has led to a massive increase in diabetes, hypertension and other chronic problems.

Another major issue is reimbursement. You may find this hard to believe, but when I first started practicing medicine in 1990 I received more payment for an office visit than I am currently receiving. This has occurred despite the increasing cost of practicing medicine, which is the result of rising malpractice premiums, rents, staff salaries, professional membership fees, license fees, and costs needed to comply with various new regulations.

What other profession has experienced a reduction in reimbursement over the last 20 years?

Although I am in favor of universal access to health care, I think that we all need to be honest that universal coverage will be a very expensive program. We cannot cut reimbursement to physicians since levels are already too low. And implementing widespread use of electronic medical records and eliminating fraudulent billing will only lead to marginal savings.

I believe that in order to reduce costs, we must give the public incentives for preventing chronic disease, increase the reimbursement for office visits, and implement medical malpractice tort reform. With these changes, I am certain that we can provide more adequate insurance coverage for all.

Dr. Sklar, an endocrinologist in Washington, D.C., is an assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital and George Washington University Hospital