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Chris Care: Providing the Health Care His Patients Need

By Alissa Manzoeillo
. 2 Comment(s)

Dr. Chris Lillis, a Doctors for America Board Member and Virginia State Director, loves primary care medicine because “you really get to know your patients. … I get to help them stay healthy through good times and navigate the health care system through difficult times.” Of his patients ranging in age from 14-102, about 40% are Medicare enrollees.

Dr. Lillis has already seen the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) begin to help his patients. “The Affordable Care Act absolutely is making a difference for my patients—the young folks who can stay on their parents’ insurance plans [and] my Medicare beneficiaries who can now afford their medicines more easily, especially when they fall into the coverage gap, the so-called ‘donut hole,’” said Dr. Lillis.

Fewer and fewer of his patients are having to decide between food and their prescription medications thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) current 50% discount on Medicare enrollees’ brand name prescription medications that fall into the “donut hole.” That donut hole will eventually completely close in 2014.

“In years past, I can remember patients who chose to avoid their screening mammogram or their screening colonoscopy because a deductible or copay was just too high and they had to make a decision between [paying] for the gas in the tank of their car or [getting] a preventive screening that could potentially save their life,” Dr. Lillis says. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people don’t have to make those choices any more. They can receive their preventive care screenings without out-of-pocket costs, which is the best kind of care we can deliver as primary care doctors.”

Like all members of Doctors for America, Dr. Lillis is ready for a health care system that focuses on quality, not quanitity: “I want my patients to get the health care I think they need. The Affordable Care Act does that. It’s knocking down barriers to care.”

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  1. Margaret Cofer

    This physician's self-interest, and the patient's obesity are two reasons for the massive ACA which costs are unsustainable. These facts are in the literature. The complications from obesity are well known and patients need much more than closure of doughnut hole.
  2. Matt

    You are right Margaret that patients need much more than closure of the donut hole and that our health care system is unsustainable. However, I think you are taking a very miopic view of the article. I do not believe Dr. Lillis is suggesting the closing the donut hole will fix health care. Rather, I believe he is saying that in order for providers to begin to intervene with patients, we have to remove the barriers that get them to the doctor-the copay on preventive services is one of them. It is important to encourage patients to go for care when they are NOT sick so that doctors can work on chronic issues related to obesity and prevention of other diseases. That is the only way to reduce costs in the long run, make us more productive and improve the economy.

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