Local pediatricians expect improvements from ACA
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In the wake of Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, effects of the new law have yet to be felt, but a few local physicians think the new health care law will improve the entire system.
The Capital Pediatric Group in Northwest Austin expects to see more patients filling exam rooms as health coverage is expected to extend to more children.
"Having them come in more regularly because their insurance is there helps keep us from allowing more chronic medical conditions from getting too serious," Dr. Elise Kibler with the Capital Pediatric Group said.
Dr. Kibler expects health insurance premiums to drop over time. She said the industry raised rates the last couple years in fear it would lose profits.
The new law caps profits at 20 percent.
"I think for a health insurance company to take 25 percent profit is too much because we need that for coverage of our patients," Dr. Kibler said.
Seton's President and Interim CEO Jesus Garza interpreted the new law as a shift of focus away from profits and quotas.
"Its intent, in many ways, was a wake-up call to the health care system," Garza said. "Money has to be spent on value as opposed to volume. The incentives have all been on volume. You fill up your hospitals; you fill up your clinics. You see as many patients as you can at your convenience—not necessarily at their convenience."
Garza says health care organizations like Seton need to realign services and that emergency rooms should return to treating the traumatically injured.
Most other ailments can be taken care of at clinics for a fraction of the cost.
"Put the people at the center, what their needs are,” Garza said. “Then, let's see how we can organize the care in such a way so that care can be delivered in a way we can all be proud of."
Despite the expected influx of patients, Dr. Kibler does not expect a shortage of general physicians. She says most medical schools have spent the last few years preparing for the effects of the new law.
She says it's important to find doctors who are attracted to the industry for the impact they have on others, rather than the money.