Lufkin doctor fears health care bill could crush his business - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin doctor fears health care bill could crush his business

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – As House Democrats make a final push for health care reform, a Lufkin doctor fears a government takeover could crush his business. It's a controversial subject, but one this doctor feels strongly about.

Dr. Charles Evans moved to the United States to escape government-run health care in his native country, Canada.

"It took three months as a physician with professional courtesy to get an MRI done," said Evans. "It took nine months to see a neurosurgeon and it took another twelve months to get a block in an operating room."

He never thought he'd be in this predicament. "What has crossed my mind is how am I going to keep my doors open?" said Evans.

The budget office estimated the health care bill would cost $940 billion over the next 10 years - mostly paid by Medicare cuts. Evans said his patients depend on Medicare, and he depends on the reimbursements.

"Basically there are plumbers out there that will make more than me if I continue to take medicare and only medicare," he said.

It might sound extreme, but Evans fears he might be searching for a new job if the health care bill passes.

"When you cut the top, the gross amount by 20 percent that translates into a 60 percent cut in the doctor's salary," he said.

Memorial Hospital CEO Bryant Krenek has stated he's against the health care bill. Krenek said without incentive, the government is taking a gamble.

"Will the type of physicians and the quality of physicians that we now have in America go into health care if for example their income is going to be half of what it is now?" asked Krenek. "Are they going to be willing to put in 12 years of medical school, make that investment?"

"Well, you cut the doctors reimbursements, there's no incentive for them to do anything expect retire," said Evans.

Something he's not ready to do. Evans hopes for a health care resolution, but said this one isn't the answer.

The CEO of Woodland Heights Medical Center, Casey Robertson, said the hospital remains neutral, but they are watching the bill closely.

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