Doctors for America member and geriatrician Dr. Katalin Roth was invited to introduce Vice President Biden at an event in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her remarks highlighted the need for Medicare reform.
Here is what she said:
My name is Katalin Roth, and I am a general internist and geriatrician at Medical Faculty Associates at George Washington University in D.C. I work in the clinic, in the hospital and also in nursing homes, and the geriatricians in my department also see patients in their homes. We strive to provide wonderful health care to our patients, yet there are so many times that we are unable to give excellent or even good care because of limitations in our health delivery system.
I am very excited to be here, but also very nervous, because this is the second time in my career that I have hoped to see real meaningful health reform. As a physician, I know we need reform, with a commitment to basic health care coverage for all, a commitment to primary care, quality systems that don’t let patients fall through the cracks.
Today, even people who have health insurance which they think is good coverage find themselves unable to access the care that they need when they need it. Many seniors on tight budgets do not come to see their doctor because they cannot afford the co-pay insurance; or they cannot access transportation which meets their medical needs; or their adult children can’t bring them to clinic because they cannot take the time from work.
Many of my patients have multiple problems and cannot afford the costs of their medications. Once their prescription plan has spent down to the maximum seniors fall through the famous “donut hole” where they need to cover the costs of the next $2000 before the insurance will contribute again—and they may not have that money to spare. The President’s health care reform will address that.
We need care coordination between doctors, hospitals, nursing and rehabilitation facilities, so that tests are not duplicated and necessary medications and treatments and goals of care are not lost in transfers. And the President’s health care reform plan will address that, too.
We need more primary care doctors and more trained geriatricians. The Obama plan will address this need.
The problems in our health care system are complex, but not untreatable. The worst medicine for our current system would be continuing with the system we have now and miss the opportunity for change.
It is now my pleasure to introduce to you a distinguished public servant who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to senior citizens, the Vice President of the United States, Vice President Joe Biden.