Gray: Washington Threw Seniors Under the Bus

Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010 09:22 PM

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The healthcare reform law struck a major blow against Medicare and the senior citizens it serves, says Dr. C.L. Gray, founder of Physicians for Reform, which seeks solutions for American healthcare.

The bill cut close to $750 billion from Medicare, says Gray, an internal medicine physician in North Carolina.

“Washington threw seniors under the bus to pay for this bill,” he told Newsmax.TV. “Right now, Medicare is bankrupt. This bill did nothing to solve that problem. It only made things worse.”

Gray has found that in his own community, physicians have been forced to borrow money to pay their workers as a result of the Medicare cuts.

“Physicians are looking to leave medicine,” he said.

Gray’s running a survey which shows about 60 percent of physicians strongly oppose the new legislation, another 20 percent oppose it, and 15 percent are looking to leave medicine early.

Medicare has been slashed to the point that reimbursements to doctors barely cover the cost of delivering care, Gray says. Congress had to make huge cuts in Medicare to pass the legislation and tell the public that the budget deficit would shrink as a result.

“As they ratchet down on physicians, more and more are deciding they aren’t able to care for patients,” he said. And that’s why they’re quitting.

Gray favors repeal of the new healthcare law if it’s politically possible. But repeal isn’t enough by itself.

“There has to be reform to our system,” he said. “I’ve outlined a series of steps to provide fiscally responsible reform that returns power to patients and physicians rather than handing power over to Washington.”

In terms of Medicare, Gray is trying to get physicians, patients and business owners together to come up with a solid reform plan.

“There are other solutions – insurance reform, tax reform, tort reform – that can be enacted to save Medicare,” Gray says.

He objects to President Obama’s controversial appointment of Donald Berwick as the new chief of Medicare and Medicaid.

“In light of the recently passed legislation, I think this is a huge misstep for the government,” Gray said. “If this is about improving the system for patient-centered healthcare, I don’t think that’s where this road is going to end.”

He and many other physicians were disappointed with the American Medical Association’s support of the healthcare reform bill, Gray says.

“I know a lot of physicians that have sent back their memberships. We need another voice to speak for patients and working physicians not the academic elite.”

Gray wasn’t happy about how big pharmaceutical companies came to support the health legislation either.

“I’m very much in favor of the pharmaceutical industry and the drugs they make, because that’s how I take care of my patients,” Gray said. “But there was an awful lot of politics behind the scenes that led to that end, and it wasn’t based on patient care.”

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