Health care reform’s passage ignites opinions, but insurance companies quiet

To Byron Holmes, a long-term substitute teacher at West Prep Academy, the health care bill approved by Congress doesn’t mandate insurance coverage quickly enough.

"I’m overjoyed that it passed, but it makes me very uneasy to be without insurance for another few years," he said Monday. "Greed has stood in the way of something people need."

To Dr. Richard Chudacoff, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, the bill’s passage is a definite step backward for physicians because it allows government to set more fee schedules.

"It’s a sad day in America. … We don’t get paid right now what we’re worth," he said. "Nobody’s going to want to be a doctor anymore."

Only one thing is clear now that the major overhaul of the nation’s health care system has passed: Everybody has a passionate opinion, particularly about how it hits the pocketbook, unless you’re talking to the biggest player in Nevada’s health care insurance industry.

At this time, United Healthcare won’t say where it stands, offering this prepared statement: "Now is the time for the difficult work of translating new law into market-level execution …"

But non-positions aren’t easy to find in the wake of passage of a polarizing bill that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost $938 billion over 10 years while covering 32 million uninsured and prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with medical problems.

Dr. Ole Thienhaus, dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, isn’t surprised at the controversy over the bill.

"It was the same way in 1965 when Medicare came in," he said. "You would have thought from some people that we had the Soviet Union moving in here."

Two years ago, the 62-year-old Holmes lost a job where he long had health insurance when his employer, a major corporation, downsized. Because he isn’t a full-time teacher, he doesn’t get the health care benefits afforded by the Clark County School District. He said buying affordable insurance on the open market on a substitute teacher’s pay isn’t feasible.

"I’d have to spend half my net pay on health insurance," he said. "That wouldn’t give me much to spend on incidentals like food and rent."

Holmes said he is concerned that he might suffer some of the same health problems that beset many African-American men his age, namely heart and prostate disease, and then have to wait for an emergency to be treated at a hospital emergency room .

Chudacoff, who led a physicians’ march on Washington in October to protest the proposed health care bill, has long said the profit motive that is central to the country’s entrepreneurial spirit and greatness helps ensure that doctors give the highest quality care to patients. He said that doctors who go to school for many years deserve a solid opportunity for material gain and that many will now leave the profession.

He predicts the legislation will ignite "the beginning of civil disobedience of the most intelligent people in the United States."

Chudacoff sent an e-mail to the Review-Journal that reads in part: "Already Medicare engages in price fixing and limits what doctors can be paid. Now they will further limit the payment on how well doctors ‘comply’ with the rationing dreams and schemes of Obamacare."

Potential money lost by doctors with passage of the new bill is also the overriding concern of the Clark County Medical Society. Though society President Dr. Annette Teijeiro declined to comment Monday on the potential effects of the new legislation, the society’s Web site that urged legislators to vote against the bill said its biggest problem was that it "Creates a new Independent Payment Advisory Board, which would make arbitrary cuts in physician reimbursement with little or no Congressional oversight."

Cheryl Randolph, a spokeswoman for United Healthcare, said the insurer won’t be specific at this time about the financial effects of the health care overhaul . The legislation gives insurance companies more than 30 million additional customers but also forbids insurers from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies and from canceling policies because someone gets sick.

With a reconciliation bill moving through the Senate and several state health reform initiatives being considered, Randolph said that "we think that it’s premature to speculate on the potential impact on our business …"

Physicians for a National Health Program, a nationwide group that Thienhaus belongs to, is highly critical of the new bill, saying the "proposal is an insurance company bonanza."

Thienhaus stressed that his position with the group has nothing to do with his position with the medical school.

Like the doctors group, Thienhaus believes that a Medicare-like single-payer approach is the best option for American health care and would save billions of dollars a year by simplifying health administration.

Thienhaus said he disputes Chudacoff’s contention that young people will no longer want to become doctors because they might make less money.

"I’ll start worrying about that when I see that we have less of the best and brightest students applying to medical school," he said. "They’re applying in record numbers."

He said it’s doubtful that large numbers of doctors will leave the profession if their pay is slightly limited.

"The alternatives aren’t very exciting," he said.

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like