Midlands medical workers weigh in on health care debate

By Jody Barr - email

WASHINGTON, DC (WIS) - President Barack Obama is preparing to speak to a joint session of Congress Wednesday evening about health care reform. The issue has sparked heated debates across the country.

Dr. Ben Levinson, who practices internal medicine in Irmo, says he fears the day health care lands in the hands of government. He says if bureaucrats start making decisions, that could end preventive medicine.

"We have a lot of normal testing, but boy I get a lot of abnormal ones too, and that's pretty gratifying to me knowing I saved somebody from having a major heart attack that didn't even know they had heart disease," said Levinson.

Levinson says the quality of American health care would suffer. 
"I'm not sure the government doesn't do that now, and insurance companies do that now," said Levinson. "Insurance companies determine what they'll pay for and what they won't pay for."

Alan Stalvey, who heads the South Carolina Hospital Association, says access to health care needs reform, which would require government involvement.

"Those kind of myths that are out there involving health care reform have caused a lot of the angst that you've seen in the public," said Stalvey. "The real problem is, the people who are real comfortable today, if they lose their job tomorrow, they're going to be on the other side of the fence on this issue."
"I worry a lot about the administration of it and like I said, I haven't really seen in my lifetime, a lot of government-run programs that were well-administered; not to mention the taxpayer has to pay for the ineffectiveness," said Levinson.

That's something Levinson says the public can't risk their lives or their wallets on.

Both Dr. Levinson and Mr. Stalvey admit they don't know much about what the finalized health care bill will look like.

The president's speech begins at 8:00pm Wednesday.

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