November 19, 2018

Iranian Group, Docs Debate Health Care Options

Click here for the video of the debate.

Members of the nonprofit group 30 Years After and the Iranian Jewish community gathered Sept. 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills for a panel discussion on health care. Panel participants included William W. Brien, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center co-chairman; Sarita Mohanty, USC KECK School of Medicine assistant professor; Howard Kahn, CEO of L.A. Care; and Larry Greenfield, vice president of the Claremont Institute.

Greenfield and Kahn agreed that one challenge is that people are living longer. When Medicare was enacted in 1965, the average life expectancy was under 65 years of age. Since the average life expectancy is now close to 80 years of age, but Medicare still kicks in at 65, there could be a shortfall in funding for the program by 2017.

Eraj Basseri of 30 Years After spoke, saying we don’t focus enough of our attention on our health. Kahn had a solution for that message when he took the podium; he held up his Blackberry to say doctors should use such technology to send us messages about our health.

“My main vision is to educate and empower people to become inspired,” said Basseri. “Access is a major problem, but I would hate to see any reform that hurts the quality. I don’t think that is fair.”

Questions from the audience included how to avoid creating a public health care system similar to other developed countries like Israel, England and Canada, where wealthier people who can also afford private coverage may have greater access to quality health care. The response was that the wealthier population in the United States is already opting out of the system by using PPOs, so the debate should instead focus on how to prevent the system from worsening.

Other concerns included how physicians who accept Medical and Medicaid can survive with the current lower rates of reimbursement for the government programs. Kahn said he disapproves of the system, but that there is a need to raise revenues.

A few questions were also directed toward concerns about a public option. “If the government is to come up with a public option that puts more people into Medicaid, I believe it will be a failed public option,” said Brien.

30 Years After organized the event to provide education about the current national health care debate. “I think more education is needed so the community is informed on both sides of the debate, rather than merely siding with the traditional party they usually side with,” said Benjamin Pezeshki of 30 Years After.

Click here for the video.