Tulsa Doctor On President's Health Care Plan

Tuesday, June 16th 2009, 4:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- President Obama continues to push for health care reform, but some doctors in Oklahoma say the president's plan may cause more problems for the public.

The U.S. Census reports there are more than 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

President Obama says a government health care plan would lower that number drastically, but physicians say his plan would cause more problems than it would solve.

President Obama spoke to a packed house Monday during the annual meeting of the American Medical Association.

Several doctors representing Oklahoma listened as the president laid out his plan. He says the nation's health care system needs an overhaul and the government should step in to provide an option to private care.

"When you hear the naysayer's claim that I am trying to bring about government run health care, know this, they're not telling the truth," said President Obama.

"If there's no competition, you're going to get down to rationing health care sooner or later," said Dr. Lee Schoeffler, a Tulsa ophthalmologist.

Dr. Lee Schoeffler is a former president of the Oklahoma Medical Association and practicing ophthalmologist in Tulsa.

He's worried the president's plan will cause small, private practices to close and create more, larger government run clinics.

He believes close to 20% of physicians won't be able to compete with the federal government.

"We feel that any public plan he puts out to compete with private plans is not effective competition. Because if you've got the power of the United States government, the treasury, and the printing presses behind you no one else can compete with you," said Dr. Schoeffler.

President Obama says his plan would cost a trillion dollars over the next ten years and be paid through budget cuts, savings and tax increases.

But Dr. Schoeffler isn't convinced. He says to do what the president wants to do will cost much more and weaken health care in the U.S.

"In any federal or state governmental project the devil is always in the details and what goes in one end of congress is not necessarily what goes out the other," said Dr. Schoeffler.

Dr. Schoeffler admits the health care system needs to be improved and he would support a government plan that only deals with helping high-risk patients who can't get conventional insurance.