Health Care Reform. Is it possible? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health Care Reform. Is it possible?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Health Care Reform. It's a vague term for a complex issue. President Obama wants sweeping changes for health care this year, but is it possible? In a time when some people must choose between buying food or medicine, Reform may be necessary.

It's a comment Pharmacist Gary Phillips doesn't hear everyday, but wishes he never heard at all.  He said, "They have said things such as looking at their food, their groceries."

And more Americans are having to choose between food, medicine or doctors visits, with rising healthcare costs and a depressed economy. So what can be done? "If we had a national policy as far as looking at those people who fall between the cracks, I feel like it's going to produce an outcome that's helpful for the individuals, their quality of life and in the long run too, it could save us money down the road."

Phoebe Putney CEO Joel Wernick says it's those people, who fall through the crack that current discussion is centered around. "I think all of the debates that are out there are trying to fill the gaps for people who currently have no coverage." And who often neglect their health until there's a problem, ultimately resulting in higher costs for taxpayers and insurance premiums for those with coverage.

Wernick said, "Our country has never had a healthcare policy. There's never been a statement that says this is what America needs and who should provide it." And getting a finite plan satisfying what every American must have may not be attainable. "The question is going to be what tradeoffs are our politicians willing to make the tough decisions on and which tradeoffs are the American public willing to make for us to get to that blended policy that everybody feels good."

And more importantly, feels healthy. Joel Wernick says having medical records available on the Internet could help streamline the healthcare system. He also says you need to take responsibility for your health and see a primary care physician regularly rather than waiting treating symptoms after you're sick.

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