On Tuesday, September 1, I participated in House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's town hall meeting on health care as a panelist. Despite some audience disruption the discussion was productive and comments and questions favored some type of health care reform two to one. More importantly, six major themes came up. The six common concerns were:
How will the legislation ensure better coverage for youth and families? How will tort reform help control health care expenditures? How will the legislation help small businesses? Will the plan pay for coverage of illegal aliens? Can we find a bipartisan solution? If and when our nations health care juggernaut is reformed, how will we find the doctors to care for the 47 million Americans who are currently uninsured?
I am a pediatrician in Prince Georges and Howard counties, and I live with these questions every day. I treat children from birth through 18 years. About 70 percent of my patient visits are by families with Medicaid or some type of government insurance.
Newborns cannot get insurance because their mothers are denied coverage due to pregnancy, which is described as a pre-existing condition. Newborns need frequent care to ensure proper growth and development at a crucial time for brain development, and proposed legislation will address this problem.