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    Physicians should unite … to support Obamacare repeal

    I had the great opportunity to visit the White House on March 13 and again on June 14. My visit in March was with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) om Price, MD, and 10 other business owners, nurses and physicians to discuss the Affordable Care Act and its impact on our communities. My recent visit to the nation’s capital was with Secretary Price and Seema Verma, administrator of The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as part of a group of 12 physicians to continue that dialogue.

    My impression of the administration and the staff assembled is that they are asking the right questions in their desire to get healthcare reform right. When we arrived on June 14, this was the morning that Representative Steve Scalise and four others were shot in Alexandria, Virginia. The decision was made to keep the press out of this meeting out of respect for the victims.

    Each physician spoke for about three to five minutes. We spoke about what we perceived was the greatest burden on physicians and their practices in this healthcare environment. We spoke about barriers to providing good care for our patients. We discussed the difficulties in keeping our practices open due to burdensome government regulations. We spoke about how we spend more time in front of a computer, rather than seeing patients. We discussed the cost of practicing defensive medicine in the healthcare system and suggested federal tort reform to deal with this issue. We also talked about ways that we could reform healthcare that would be beneficial to both patients and physicians.

    Physicians around the nation should unify around this opportunity to have real substantive reform to our healthcare system which could make it better for patients and physicians. In my two interactions with the current administration, I have been impressed with their willingness to listen to suggestions and new ideas about how to move forward with healthcare reform. There does not seem to be any prevailing ideology on either side that is driving their actions. They seem to be entertaining methods of best practices and attempting to push legislation and executive action that will benefit the greatest number of patients and healthcare workers. In fact, this month, CMS sent out a press release asking physicians to send in their ideas about how to best reform Medicare and Medicaid services.

    For the first time in our nation's history, we have a physician as HHS secretary. The CMS administrator is married to a physician and has many family members who practice medicine. We should take this opportunity to engage like never before, to have our voice heard in reforming our healthcare system. This administration is asking to hear from you!

    Next: It's time for physicians to be heard

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