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Some doubt accuracy of report on health care law

BY WAYNE GREENE Published: July 14, 2012
/articleid/3692390/1/pictures/1773605">Photo - U.S. Rep. John Sullivan
U.S. Rep. John Sullivan

Ritze couldn't give names of any physicians who have left the medical profession because of the federal law, but described the cases of two Tulsa neurosurgeons who have recently left the field.

Survey draws critics

Others say that while there is a good deal of frustration among physicians, the survey's results are dubious.

Stanley Hupfeld, longtime CEO of Integris Health, the state's largest health care system and hospital network, said there is a lot of legitimate frustration among physicians with a lot of things, including the health care law — but it's ridiculous to think they are going to walk away from the field in large numbers.

After retiring from the top of Integris Health, Hupfeld became chairman of the Integris Foundations and wrote a book, “Political Malpractice,” about health reform. His book finds good and bad points with the Affordable Care Act, and proposes his own agenda for reforming the health care system.

He says he's a Republican who sometimes votes for Democrats, if they are the better candidate.

“There may be a lot of doctors who are unhappy, but they're not quitting,” he said. “With the time and effort it takes to become a physician, these people may gripe a lot and they may be unhappy about this or that, but the idea that they're going to quit medicine in the middle of their careers is just silly.”

The survey was conducted by a small, right-wing group and received very few responses, he said.

“If you'd done that same survey ten years ago and you'd surveyed that same group of physicians, you'd have gotten the same results,” he said. “There's a group of physicians who tend to be unhappy about everything.”

Sullivan said the Affordable Care Act is destructive to the nation's corps of physicians.

“It defies all logic to think the federal government can improve our health care system by running those we depend on to provide it out of business,” he said. “Obamacare is the most significant change to our nation's health care system in history and a driving force behind the concerns many health care providers have.”

Also ...

States get more time on Medicaid

— Administration officials are telling the states there's no pressure to decide whether to expand Medicaid for their low-income residents under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. The Supreme Court gave states the option of accepting or rejecting the Medicaid expansion. It's designed to cover about 15 million low-income people around the country, starting in 2014. In a letter to Republican governors Friday, the administration said there's no deadline for states to decide on Medicaid. And states can receive federal funding to explore their options without having to pay it back if they later decline. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, says in the letter she expects states “will recognize that this is a good deal,” since federal taxpayers are covering the lion's share of costs.

Associated Press


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