Testimony of Pediatrician Scott Tyson

Testimony of pediatrician Scott Tyson at the Citizen/Congressional Hearing on healthcare in Aliquippa, PA – from the website www.kucinich.us where you can view a video of several of the participants in the hearing.

May 21, 2005

By Scott Tyson, Pediatrician and Small Business Owner

Hi. My name is Scott Tyson. I’m a pediatrician and small business owner in Allegheny County.

I’m here to ask that you do everything in your power to fix the disaster that is health care in Pennsylvania today. H.R. 676 is critical to the well being of our country, and I truly believe that this is the most important piece of legislation today.

Our health care system is in a shambles. More and more time is spent on processing care, not providing care. Due to the increase in costs, people have asked for a solution; and managed care was that solution. And this was the beginning of the end. Managed care paid physicians a fixed fee. The patients paid nothing more than the premium to their insurer and were promised by the insurer that they would not need to pay for their care. It was a system that was created by the insurer and began the destruction of the health care system.

As increases in costs slowed, the insurer took more and more control. Then, after getting concessions from physicians and hospitals, maximally, it became apparent that this was not enough to stop cost growth, due to technological advances. Costs began to rise again, and so the patient was blamed for over-utilization.

The next answer was to increase the cost to the patient by jacking up co-pays. Since there was only a finite amount that the co-pays could be increased, this answer was limited. The new answer is health savings accounts. This is essentially the exact same system that existed in the ’80s, except there is a huge deductible; costs and reimbursement are arbitrary and virtually impossible to understand. The insurers now ask that the patients bear the cost of the bulk of their care, as they did in the ’80s. Only today, there is no reason to charges, virtually no one knows the cost of procedures, and it is impossible to understand the complexity to the system. My only hope is that this newest solution is so fundamentally flawed, so complex, and so damaged that it might be the final critical step to force our country to a national health care system.

I believe today that you have before you a task that is essential to our well being. We need to save the health care system. We need to take control back from the insurers. Highmark made 300 million dollars profit this year, on top of a 2.3 billion dollar reserve. We need to save the health care system. We need to give it back to the patients and the physicians. Please ask that everyone nationally support H.R. 676. Speak to your friends, write to your local and national papers, your legislators, and recognize that, if things can change this much in ten years in the wrong direction, then they can change again. Only, this time, in the right direction.

Thank you for your attention.