by Stephanie Nguyen
The Affordable Care Act can be interpreted in many different lights and targeted from many different angles. Francis Kong from Insight@Berkeley and EdgeInterns came in to Hep B Project on April 23rd speak about his own perspective of the Affordable Care Act.
Francis Kong holds a medical degree from Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, although he does not currently practice. Instead, he works in healthcare and mentorship develop for students, with a specific chapter here at Berkeley. Despite not working directly in the medical field, Francis is extremely knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act and holds his own opinion on how it will affect physicians and their patients.
His main argument against the Affordable Care Act is the issue of the allocation of resources, namely the number of physicians that will not change even with the expected influx of insured patients. To Francis, this means that there will be shorter appointment times, already at an all-time low of around 10 minutes, to accommodate for the number of new clients that physicians will take on. Shorter appointments thus mean shorter times for physicians to diagnose a problem, which in itself leads to more problems. If the physician makes an incorrect diagnosis and neglects the actual condition or prescribes a harmful treatment, in a trigger-happy country full of lawyers, lawsuits ensue. Insurance of physicians now take a hit and the next part of this snowball effect is that physicians must seek out more patients to cover their insurance premium. Again, more patients now means even shorter appointment times and shorter diagnoses times, and on and on. This thus becomes a cycle incurred by the initiation of the Affordable Care Act.
There are plenty of better and worse enactments that can be made in terms of health care, but what would be most suitable for the United States is a topic of heated debate. We must consider if what is best is very good health care for some people, or less than good health care for all. It’s an interesting idea to consider, and Francis Kong sparked that thought in us during our meeting. There is much to see and look forward to with the Affordable Care Act, and Francis Kong’s perspective is certainly something to consider in what the future holds in medicine.