Lake Area doctors disagree over health care reform

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – There is no denying Sunday night's U.S. House of Representatives passage of health care reform was a historic moment. Whether it was a good thing or not depends largely on who you ask.

Just as it did before health care reformed passed the House, the debate has Americans –including doctors—split.

Lake Charles physician, and former Calcasieu Medical Society President, Dr. John Noble said the health reform bill will be bad news for Americans who are already insured.

"My biggest objection to all of this is that it is going to significantly increase our national debt without improving the quality of care," said Dr. Noble.

Besides the bill adding to the national debt, Dr. Noble sees longer waiting times for patients, since some 30 million newly insured Americans would be theoretically lining up to see the doctor.

"Patients are going to have increased wait times because there will be so many patients, physicians won't be able to see them all," said Dr. Noble. " I don't think you can increase the coverage of this many people without having some sort of ration and what's going to happen is our older citizens are the ones are going to have their care rationed."

But not every doctor sees it that way.

Family practitioner Dr. George Edmond Smith said the health care bill, while not perfect, will be great news for millions of Americans.

"No one is going to be denied because they have cancer or HIV or pre-existing problems with health," said Dr. Smith. "The basic of having free care--not socialized medicine--but access to care, is a very important part of this bill."

In November, Dr. Smith sent a letter to the White House expressing his concerns about health care reform. To his surprise, Dr. Smith received a letter back from the President. Now that health care reform has passed, Dr. Smith said he might write President Obama again to congratulate him on a historic political victory.

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