Dems press prescription for health care overhaul

Posted Oct. 20, 2009, at 11:42 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two doctors from Maine joined a nationwide push Tuesday aimed at building support for President Barack Obama’s health care reform effort.

Presented by the Maine unit of Organizing for America, a grass-roots project of the Democratic National Committee, Tuesday’s “Time to Deliver” health insurance round-table talk was among hundreds of events nationwide, according to Maine OFA state director Julian Federle.

Dr. Richard Evans, president of the medical staff at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, and Dr. Karen Hover, a family doctor practicing in Bangor, were the featured speakers. Both doctors said the current health insurance system isn’t cutting it.

“In day-to-day practices, we know that the current system is not working, so to consider proceeding forward with the status quo, that’s just not acceptable,” Evans said.

“It’s not acceptable from the standpoint of the patient and it’s not acceptable from the standpoint of those who provide care to the patients,” said Evans, who was among hundreds of doctors who stood with Obama earlier this month in the Rose Garden in support of the president’s initiative. Obama’s goal is to get his initiative adopted by the end of this year.

Each day, Evans said, health care is being denied and patients are being dropped from coverage. High out-of-pocket costs for many of those who are insured mean that people are forgoing or putting off potentially lifesaving screenings and procedures and doing without lifesaving medications.

Dr. Karen Hover, a family doctor practicing in Bangor, said she sees the consequences of not having preventive care. To illustrate her point, she spoke of a man in his 50s who is a patient of hers. He initially came to her after finding blood in his stool. She recommended a colonoscopy to find out what the problem was. The man, however, did not have the test because of the cost. By the time he returned a year later, he had developed colon cancer.

“That sort of thing happens … and to see that to see the consequences in people that we know is upsetting,” Hover said. “We know that it’s more expensive to care for these problems afterward and more painful.”

Among their concerns, opponents have cited increased government intervention and the increased taxes that would be required to pay for health care reforms.

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