A doctor’s 3,255-mile bike ride uncovers lots of anger with ACA

Medical

An Arizona doctor spent his sabbatical on a cross-country bike ride talking with Americans he encountered along the 3,255 miles about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Paul Gordon, M.D., a 61-year-old family physician and faculty member at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in Tucson, was prepared to hear frustrations but was surprised by the bitter anger generated over the controversial healthcare reform law signed by President Obama six years ago, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

For example, a Pennsylvania restaurant owner complained about her rising insurance bills and said she was sick of helping to cover other people’s medical care, according to the article. In South Dakota, a woman said Obama “just gives all the taxpayers’ money away to poor people.”

His trip from the District of Columbia to Seattle that began last spring and ended this summer at first left him discouraged and unsettled, as people he encountered raged at the government, the healthcare system and fellow Americans who had gained insurance coverage through the ACA, according to the Times. About 11.1 million people are now enrolled in ACA exchange coverage.

However, somewhere along the journey, Gordon decided he and other doctors can do something about all the anger and resentment. “I saw this could make me a better teacher, a better clinician, a better human being,” he told the newspaper. Doctors have a role to play in correcting some of the misinformation and helping fellow citizens better understand a complex and costly healthcare system, he said.

While the ACA has brought its share of challenges to physicians, it has also had positive effects, including the enhanced ability to get patients needed care.

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