Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do patients talk with doctors about health care reform?

Patients seem to love asking the question, "so what do you think about all these discussions regarding health care reform?"

How should doctors answer these types of questions? Should you get into politics? Focus on the public health issues that our nation faces? Talk about increasing taxes? Criticize the public option because it's doomed for failure?

I enjoy discussions and friendly debates regarding our current health care system. I don't believe we have any easy answers to the large question. I've worked in the VA system where every veteran has access to health care and medications. I've worked in free health clinics where care and even medications are freely given to those who are in need. I've seen patients in developing nations who appreciate receiving pain pills and vitamins.

The reality is that most doctors are probably too busy to get into long discussions about health care reform. However, what if you were sitting down at dinner with a handful of your patients?

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