CNN's Gupta Highlights Physician Who Opposes ObamaCare

A week after filing a report focused on a "lifelong conservative" who supports ObamaCare and worries about losing health insurance if it is repealed, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Friday went in the other direction as he filed a report predominantly about the views of physicians who make a case against ObamaCare and complain that it has harmed the system.

Although the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, was partially balanced out by including the views of doctors who oppose a repeal, the piece focused mainly on one physician, Dr. Brian Hill, who left his practice because of ObamaCare to work for a hospital which charges substantially more for services he used to provide for less, and informed viewers of surveys finding physicians more likely than not to hold negative views toward the program's effect.



Near the beginning of the report, Gupta recalled: "On a typical 14-hour day, Dr. Brian Hill is constantly immersed in the realities of health care. His conclusion:"

Then came a soundbite of Dr. Hill: "The Affordable Care Act has to go away."

After a clip of Dr. Hill worrying that ObamaCare would still be a "morass" next year, Gupta noted the views of physicians whup support the program. After a clip from a pro-single payer rally of a man shouting, "Mad as hell!" Gupta continued: "And, just like the rest of us, studies find doctors tend to like or dislike the law based on their existing political preference. There are other factors -- your age, for example."

The CNN correspondent then highlighted how poorly ObamaCare if viewed by physicians as he highlighted a survey finding that substantially more doctors rate ObamaCare with either of D or an F than with an A or B. Gupta: "So how do doctors feel about ObamaCare? Well, a little stuck. Because surveys show only 3.2 percent give ObamaCare an A grade. And yet, most of the major medical associations are urging no repeal without replacement, worried about the loss of coverage for millions of people."

A graph was displayed showing that the percentage of doctors who gave the program an A or B grade only added up to just over 23 percent, while more than 48 percent gave it either a D or F.

Then came a clip of Dr. Benjamin Sommers of the Howard T.H. Chan School of Public Health fretting that people will lose insurance if the ObamaCare law is repealed. Gupta then returned to Dr. Hill asked for his response to that argument:

GUPTA: For people out there who have been beneficiaries -- there are some 20 million of them. What would you say to them, as a doctor?

HILL: Did we really solve the problem? Co-pays are going up, deductibles are going up. They're giving you insurance, but are they really giving you access to health care?

The CNN correspondent then informed viewers of the added costs that resulted from ObamaCare:

GUPTA: As Dr. Hill and many other doctors see it, the same exact care now costs more than it should.

HILL: I look in my office, and I've got a coder, I've got a biller, I've got someone who works on prior authorization, pre-certification. All of those things have raised the cost of health care to the point where physicians went, "I'm out."

Gupta added:

Last year, Hill got out. His practice swallowed by one of Atlanta's largest hospitals, a growing trend across the country. That did reduce his costs, but now he worries about his patients. Why? Because big hospitals can charge more money. For example, we decided to join Dr. Hill in the operating room. We understand that now that he's partners with the hospital, he can be doing the same type of operation on the same type of patient literally in the same operating room, except the costs will now be 20 to 30 percent higher.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, January 13, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

9:24 a.m. ET

DOCTOR BRIAN HILL, UROLOGIST: I love medicine. Medicine is great. When you sit in the exam room, you interact with a patient and you operate, you know, you do those things that we were trained to do. It's awesome. When I have to deal with all the bureaucracy and burden that's built around the system of health care, that makes medicine difficult.

SANJAY GUPTA: On a typical 14-hour day, Dr. Brian Hill is constantly immersed in the realities of health care. His conclusion:

HILL: The Affordable Care Act has to go away.

GUPTA: A year from now, 2018, what do you think this looks like?

HILL: I think it's going to be the same political morass that it is today, that it was yesterday, and that it was eight years ago.

GUPTA: It's safe to say most doctors, like Brian Hill, are not shy when it comes to expressing their views on ObamaCare.

CLIP OF MAN BEHIND AT RALLY IN FRONT OF BANNER SAYING "SINGLE PAYER FOR ALL": Mad as hell!

GUPTA: And, just like the rest of us, studies find doctors tend to like or dislike the law based on their existing political preference. There are other factors -- your age, for example.

DOCTOR BENJAMIN SOMMERS, HOWARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Younger physicians were generally more favorable towards the Affordable Care Act and more supportive of the idea that the government has a role to play in helping citizens afford their access to health care.

GUPTA: So how do doctors feel about ObamaCare? Well, a little stuck. Because surveys show only 3.2 percent give ObamaCare an A grade. And yet, most of the major medical associations are urging no repeal without replacement, worried about the loss of coverage for millions of people.

SOMMERS: I think the AMA has it right. This is the biggest drop in the number of people without health insurance since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago.

GUPTA: For people out there who have been beneficiaries -- there are some 20 million of them. What would you say to them, as a doctor?

HILL: Did we really solve the problem? Co-pays are going up, deductibles are going up. They're giving you insurance, but are they really giving you access to health care?

GUPTA: As Dr. Hill and many other doctors see it, the same exact care now costs more than it should.

HILL: I look in my office, and I've got a coder, I've got a biller, I've got someone who works on prior authorization, pre-certification. All of those things have raised the cost of health care to the point where physicians went, "I'm out."

GUPTA: Last year, Hill got out. His practice swallowed by one of Atlanta's largest hospitals, a growing trend across the country. That did reduce his costs, but now he worries about his patients. Why? Because big hospitals can charge more money. For example, we decided to join Dr. Hill in the operating room. We understand that now that he's partners with the hospital, he can be doing the same type of operation on the same type of patient literally in the same operating room, except the costs will now be 20 to 30 percent higher.

GUPTA: The hospital that's partnering with Hill refused to comment for this story. So what is the solution? For Hill, it's about giving the market back to the consumer and letting doctors earn their trust.

HILL: Why do we need 535 people in Washington, D.C., to fix things? We're going to fix it? I have faith in that. I think the solutions are going to come from us.

GUPTA: And that's what we hear a lot, Carol. common themes saying, "Look, we have to play a role in terms of how health care goes forward. Two big ideas sort of that come out from this. Again, it's not for all doctors, but a lot of doctors talking about full cost transparency. How much do you really know about how much health care costs -- how much your drugs cost, a procedure, a hospitalization."

Most people don't know that. Transparency of cost could help people be more cognizant of that, drive costs down. And also, when it comes to markets, Carol, they say, "Is it possible that patients and potential patients could be dealing directly with doctors and hospitals instead of through the government or insurance systems. Again, not everyone is on board with that, but those are some of the ideas or at least types of ideas you're hearing.


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