My turn: Doctors sign on for health care reform

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010

Many physicians in Alaska are for the Health Reform Bill that was recently signed into law. We are sorry our governor is refusing our state's participation. His leadership on this issue does not reflect the needs of Alaskans or even the majority of physicians. In fact, a good number of Alaskan physicians prefer a public option be added to the current reform as well.

To quote some Juneau physicians:

"As an emergency room doctor, I see first hand the failures of the present health care system in our country. I respectfully disagree with Gov. Parnell's stance regarding the recent health care reform. I applaud President Obama and hope for a strong public option for health care in the future." - Dr. Ken Brown

"I'm for health reform." - Dr. Mark Peterson

"I had a patient ask how health reform will affect our relationship. I told her that I am for health reform." - Dr. Catherine Peimann

"The need for radical comprehensive health reform is self-evident." - Dr. Alan McPherson.

"The system needs to be fixed. This is a start." - Dr. Nandi Than

"I am in support of health care reform as there are a lot of children who are without health care options due to parental jobs, in addition to limits on what can be done and what medications are available to use - due to insurance limitations." - Dr. Amy Dressel

"Everyone in our country should have medical insurance; the choice of an affordable public plan should be open to everyone." - Dr. William Cole

"Alaska needs real leadership to assure access to health care for all citizens, if there is true meaning to 'respect for all.' There are thousands of children and their parents who do not have such access. This is disrespectful to those children and parents." - Dr. George W. Brown

"I'm for health reform. It's what we need." - Dr. Nate Haddock

"I'll sign on for health reform." - Dr. Eric Olsen

"I grew up in an uninsured family who could not afford basic health care costs. My parents lost our family home when my mother suffered an illness requiring a critical care unit hospital admission. My family was never able to get ahead after that and I watched my dad work every day till he died trying to pay all the bills. I have always been for health reform with a public option." - Dr. Maureen Longworth

"Health care reform is a positive step in improving the health of Alaskans." - Dr. Sharon Fisher

"Everyone, from newborns to elders, deserves to have high quality health care regardless of their economic situation. It just makes sense. I am in favor of health care reform." - Dr. Jana Linfield

"The healthcare delivery system is broken. I appreciate the forward momentum health reform brings. I look forward to a better solution for all Americans." - Dr. Nate Peimann

"I am also in favor of health care reform. The current system greatly needs change and improvement to provide health care for most Americans." - Dr. Priscilla Valentine

"I support health care reform." - Dr. Anya Maier

Many of us recall an uninsured Juneau patient taking his own life after a new cancer diagnosis rather than become a financial burden to his family. It is troubling to Alaska physicians that our governor is spending resources on denying Alaskans health reform access we deserve. We would like our state resources used for health reform instead of against it. Our patients need it. Our families need it. We need it.

Please join us in supporting access to the health reform we need in Alaska.

• Hunter-Joerns is a neurologist at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Longworth is a physician in private practice in Juneau.

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