Health Care Summit: A Real Debate or a Show?

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Today's White House summit intended to find common ground between Republicans and Democrats on how to reform the American health care system, but I beg to differ.

At the end of the day, what you really have is a bunch of politicians both from the left and the right trying to deal with a problem that's larger than they are. Health care is a complicated animal; doctors make it complicated, hospitals make it complicated and every state has its own set of regulations.

It seems like nobody's talking to each other at this summit. They all have talking points made to fit their own agenda, they say what they want and nothing is getting done. And from what I observed this morning, it seems like President Obama not listening to the opposition.

For example, when Sen. McCain made some very solid points citing backroom deals with the drug manufacturing lobby and other arrangements to favor some states with reluctant Democratic senators, he was met with dismissive remarks.

When they broke for lunch, everyone went up to the President for autographs. This is not a debate, this is all for show!

As a practicing physician, I also feel the leadership from the AMA and many of the societies that represent the interest of clinical care just aren't there. Everybody's looking for their own deal and I'm in total agreement after months and months of this, that this bill, as it stands right now, should not be pushed through.

There's no tort reform in this proposal, and the reason things happen at different operational costs throughout the country is all relative because medical practices, taxes and regulations differ state-by-state.

Many of the points in the current proposal are going to create deficits in Medicaid and Medicare. I practice in the state of New Jersey, and we're in negative financial flow when it comes to Medicare dollars, with the state responsible for making up the difference. There's a huge gap, so this is a bad bill as is, I say throw the whole thing in the garbage.

I think the best way to come up with a bill that will work is by doing their due-diligence and physically going to see how the health system works! Had they done this more effectively, they would have come with a laundry list that they could prioritize, and begin to tackle one at a time.

Another issue I have with the health care reform bill is the plan for taxation of medical devices. Medical devices are the bread and butter of modern health care for all Americans because we all want our doctors to have the latest machines, we want GE to pump money into research and development, we want all these companies to come up with better CT scans and ultrasounds; basically, we all want the best care modern medicine has to offer.

Well, what do you think is going to happen when all this state-of-the-art technology is taxed? It's not going to reduce health care costs for the consumer, that's for sure.

One of the most important aspects of health care overhaul is tort reform. This is something that the administration should be focusing on, but I think President Obama has downplayed its importance in the current debate. Every doctor I know practices defensive medicine, and most of us would never put patients through half the tests we do if it weren't to protect ourselves from lawsuits.

Finally, I don't think it's possible to insure 50 million people at once; it has to be done in stages. Anybody who comes to a hospital here in the U.S. has to be treated. It doesn't matter if you're legal or illegal, insured or uninsured, we don't deny anyone. Doctors and hospitals provide medical care to the uninsured by the millions, and on top of that we're looking at taxing not only from the income tax perspective, from the health care perspective and employer perspective.

I understand they're doing all of this to achieve a noble cause, but you can't do it in one shot. If they go into reconciliation, they may very well push the bill through, but personally, I think it's a terrible idea.

What do you think?