Dr. Elaina George, a prominent family practice physician in Atlanta, has a bone to pick with President Obama. During various healthcare town hall meetings and press conferences, the president has villified doctors as the cause of the high cost of healthcare. But Dr. George doesn't agree.
As one of the few black doctors in America who is taking the time to speak out in the current healthcare debate, Dr. George says that the culprits in the high cost of healthcare are The American Medical Association, hospitals, big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Here is how she breaks it down.
1) Our country has gotten away from preventing illness and is instead engaged in the high cost of managing disease. Dr. George explains in the interview below that rather than actually curing illnesses or preventing them, we simply try to manage them. Her argument, as with many others in the healthcare profession, is that this attitude is driven by the fact that pharmaceutical and insurance companies only maximize profits when people stay sick. Symptoms tend to be treated instead of the underlying cause of the illness, making problems worse in the long-term.
2) According to some physicians, the public option on healthcare may not be as great as it sounds. When it comes to the public option (which is being heavily debated right now), Dr. George argues that while the option may provide health coverage for many Americans who don't have it, it may not cause insurance companies to pay their fair share of the cost of healthcare reform. "The argument that the public option will drive down costs is disingenuous," says Dr. George. "How can a program designed to cover about 10 million people (as per the Congressional Budget Office) really exert any pressure on the health insurance industry when a company like Blue Cross and Blue Shield has over 30 million members and United Healthcare is even larger?"