How would a single-payer system impact spine? 3 spine surgeons discuss

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Three spine surgeons discuss how a single-payer healthcare system would impact spine practice in the U.S.

Question: Would a single-payer system help or harm spine practice? 

Thomas Loftus, MD. Austin Neurological Institute (Texas): Based on single-payer systems that exist in markets in other countries, it seems that single-payer insurance would hurt spine practice. To allow absolute control of healthcare delivery by a single payer restricts patient access to care and severely affects and limits decision making by the actual physician. The small advantage of not having to deal with multiple insurance companies would be greatly offset by the complete disruption of who makes the actual healthcare decisions. It would be bad for patients and bad for their physicians.

Domagoj Coric, MD. Carolinas Medical Center (Charlotte, N.C.): It would almost certainly harm spine practice. In fact, it has the potential to be disastrous to patients with spinal disorders and to the practice of spinal surgery. A single-payer system would likely limit patient access to spine specialty care as well as hinder the development and implementation of new technology.

Erich Anderer, MD. NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn: I'd like to think that the practice of spine surgery — and all surgery for that matter — is payer agnostic. Some payers have adopted approval criteria for spine surgery that make it difficult to account for nuances in disease presentation. If these types of processes become the norm via a more centralized insurance system, it could make it even more onerous for people that really need surgery to get approval to have it done. 

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