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PA Med Student is Surprised Health Insurance Crisis “Cure” Hasn’t Been Found

July 7, 2008

Springfield, PA – If it's too expensive, get rid of it. That's the diagnosis by the American Medical Student Association for too-expensive health care insurance and the companies profiting from it. The group is making the controversial suggestion that maybe these companies aren't needed.

Pennsylvania resident physician Weston Fisher is a regional director of the AMSA. He says one thing he has learned during his residency is how medical professionals are blocked at almost every turn by insurance companies.

"[For example, my patients] are filling out a lot of paperwork, and this drug I'd like to prescribe isn't something they can afford. We're quickly shown how the current system is failing."

Pennsylvania is looking at two pieces of state legislation that would cut out the insurance "middle man" so more insurance money could be spent directly on health care (HB 1660 and SB 300). Health reform rallies are scheduled for Tuesday.

Health care reformers should look seriously at the role health insurance companies play, Fisher suggests. In his view, they're an "obstacle" to quality care, and the public is forced to pay for that obstacle.

"The insurance system is currently the main roadblock. It is extremely expensive, and that's what needs to change."

Fischer says his decision about whether or not to practice in Pennsylvania depends, in part, on whether such reforms become law.

Health insurance companies contend that they help control costs and coordinate services so they're not duplicated. Some company spokesmen have called proposals to eliminate health insurers "anti-business."

Information about the health reform rallies scheduled for Tuesday is available at www.healthcare4allpa.org.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - PA