How to Encourage Doctors to Treat the Poor

How to Encourage Doctors to Treat the Poor

Speaking to a room of 12,000 people at an annual ophthalmology conference, Rand Paul took the new healthcare law to task… and then did something more than point out a problem, he gave a possible solution: a progressive health care incentive, one that aims at giving doctors and hospitals tax incentives to treat the poor.

He spoke on how to improve the “well intentioned” but misguided Obamacare, which relies heavily on Medicare and Medicaid. A progressive health care incentive would help to cover the cost that the Affordable Care Act will levy on the American people and encourage more doctors to treat the poor.

Paul brought to mind the idea of adding a tax incentive for doctors in order for them to financially make it possible to treat people with low incomes, and it was well received. His colleagues from his days of medical practice liked the idea, and it seems like one that could gain traction.

Senator Paul has been prohibited from doing any practice of ophthalmology since being elected in 2011, but he still performs it on a pro bono basis. He is also the founder of the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic that caters to needy families and individuals. Such acts of charity are ones that obviously motivate this proposal.

“The bottom line is should we as physicians, or as compassionate people, want to help people? Yes. Do most of us do it? Yes. I’ve said for 20 years, if you want to increase the people we treat, just give us a tax deduction or a tax credit for seeing the poor,” Sen. Paul said to applause from the mainly physician audience.

“We should try to minimize what government does. We should try to keep things as much as we can in the private sector. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a social, welfare, or safety net to help people, but it means we shouldn’t be so presumptuous that we make it so big that the rest of us drown in paying for it.” (EyeWireToday)

Whether or not the Affordable Care Act works out in the future is yet to be seen, but offering a progressive health care incentive to encourage healthcare providers to treat the poor could be a win for either party (aka: the country.)

Would this work? Share your thoughts below or send us a tweet!


(Photo courtesy of Jay Reed, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)



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