Oklahoma Medical Professionals React To Healthcare Decision

Thursday, June 28th 2012, 6:52 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Physicians at OU's Schusterman Clinic see people with all sorts of healthcare needs.

Under the best case, as with 82-year-old Dayton Moats, it's a routine checkup, covered by insurance.

On the other end of the spectrum is Kaye Williams, who needs constant care but has no insurance.

"Without health insurance, how can you find out how you're going to get better, how to have hope you're going to survive?" Williams said.

Three years ago, Williams was a nurse supervisor, with money to support a hobby of caring for exotic animals.

Since then, she developed a chronic health problem that's left her unable to work or afford insurance.

She's lost everything to pay for healthcare, and still needs more.

She had not realized how many people don't have insurance.

"I run across them every day, and as a nurse, I did not realize there were so many," Williams said.

6/28/2012 Related Story: Oklahomans Who Rely On Free Clinics React To Healthcare Decision

Doctor Gerard Clancy of OU Tulsa said the problem is not just a lack of insurance.

"One of the pieces that the general public doesn't see is that most people without health coverage try to get by without accessing healthcare at all, and what they do is wait and wait and wait," said Clancy. "We see that all the time, so here's the opportunity for people to get care before major trouble strikes and we'll have to see how it works out."

Clancy said the healthcare law will improve health by encouraging people to get less expensive routine care.

Now, he said, the challenge will be making sure physicians can see more patients when the government starts paying for the uninsured in 2014.

"We've really got to work hard to make ourselves accessible for everybody who needs healthcare," Clancy said.