Wicker tells doctors healthcare reforms will run off the tracks

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker thinks he has enough support to derail the public option component of any healthcare bill.  Wicker was in Gulfport Tuesday morning, discussing healthcare issues with area doctors.

The doctors say they haven't heard a viable healthcare solution come out of Washington yet.

"I think part of our frustration is what the heck do we do," said Dr. Luis Camero during the question and answer portion of Sen. Wicker's talk.

Dr. Camero runs the emergency department at Garden Park Medical Center, where one out of every five patients gets treated despite not having healthcare coverage.

"Most of us who work in healthcare are frustrated with the direction it's taking.  So now we wonder, what is it we can do, rather than sit home frustrated, what is it that we can do," he said.  "I think we got into this business to take care of people.  And as a general rule, I don't think as a whole we're doing that great of a job right now.  I think there are a lot of folks that can't afford the current healthcare."

Mississippi's junior senator says one solution should not be a big government takeover.  Yet, that's what people are saying is included in the healthcare proposals fueling so much debate around the country.

"I find a healthy skepticism to that sort of philosophy," Wicker said.

Sen. Wicker visited Garden Park and talked with doctors, nurses and administrators from that hospital, Memorial, and Hancock Medical Center about the nation's healthcare debate.

"Healthcare needs to be more affordable for Americans.  It needs to be more affordable for our economy," he said, doubting whether the current trillion dollar bills under consideration would be affordable for the U.S.

Dr. Tim Jackson was the first person to speak out during the 30 minute talk.

"I want to make sure you understand how strongly we are opposed to socialized medicine," the orthopedic surgeon said.  "The discussions about the details of this bill drive me crazy, because the whole thing needs to be scrapped."

The senator heard that message loud and clear.

"Frankly there are so many problems with this huge program that I don't see any way it can be saved, or should be saved," said Wicker.

The last thing Sen. Wicker said he wanted to do was harm America's healthcare professionals.  He'd rather create more competition between insurance companies, bringing down healthcare costs that way.

That would accomplish what John Kneeland is after, keeping government out of the way.

"Bureaucracies don't tend to make good doctors and I applaud the good surgeon who seems to be in support of something that is non-socialized medicine," the Memorial Hospital clinical social worker said.

Senator Wicker believes there's enough opposition to healthcare reform right now to derail it when Congress returns to work in September, especially if it endangers Medicare.

"I don't see how we can have national healthcare reform with medicare cuts," the senator said.

Arizona Sen. John Kyl made a comment very similar to what Sen. Wicker said.  Kyl said Congress should scrap the current healthcare bills and start over.  Kyl is the second ranking republican in the United States Senate.

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