Bridenstine Talks With Doctors About Patient Insurance Concerns
TULSA, Oklahoma - U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) met with surgeons at the Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center on Thursday to talk about improving health care.
Much of the conversation was fueled by frustration with insurance companies.
The doctors voiced concerns to Bridenstine that patients are being denied quality health care.
"We are frustrated with the ability to be able to give our patients care," spinal surgeon Dr. Kastra Ahmadinia said. "These patients are his constituents as well. I'm sure he wants to know about what's preventing them from getting the care they need. What ends up happening is you have these experts in the field who spend their entire lives getting to where they're at and then insurance companies saying no."
Bridenstine first got a tour of the orthopedic center before sitting down with surgeons and hospital staff.
Their top concerns are the cost of medicine, especially preventative medication and tests. They say most representatives at insurance companies aren't medically trained, yet they often decide if a patient's treatment will be covered.
They're hoping Bridenstine will take their concerns back to Washington.
"I think it's a reaffirmation of a lot of the frustrations that hospitals have right now,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the biggest thing is how the patients are being affected by this,” Ahmadinia said. “We know how to do our jobs, but if we can't do them appropriately, the patient gets affected."
Bridenstine was quick to point to the Affordable Care Act and the current administration as culprits.
"Patients don't have as much choice, doctors don't have as much flexibility, there's a whole lot of time that goes into simply bureaucratic, administrative duties," he said.
But a recent survey shows doctors are warming up to the health care law.
According to the Medicus Firm, only 16 percent of doctors gave the ACA an F grade, compared to 22 percent last year.
Doctors in support of the law say it emphasizes preventative screening and care.
But Bridenstine calls it an example of the government not serving the country's best interests.
"The patient, at the end of the day, given the processes that are currently in place, they're not being as well served as they otherwise could be," he said.
Bridenstine then headed to Collinsville, where he attended a Chamber of Commerce luncheon and discussed the state's economy.