A panel of health policy experts said that universal health coverage could be delivered during a Barack Obama presidency, but conceded that many barriers exist and warn that expanded health coveragewhile idealmay actually do little to improve the quality of care.
What well get wont come in one fell swoop, said Nelson Adams, the past president of the National Medical Association, which represents more than 30,000 African-American doctors. He added that generational barriers such as a lack of health education and other cultural gaps are hard to overcome. The more things change, the more sometimes they seem to stay the same.
The panel discussion focused on how best to improve healthcare across the minority populations. Rep. Donna Christensen, the U.S. Virgin Islands delegate to Congress; Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association; and Roba Whiteley, executive director of the prescription-savings program Together Rx Access, were also on the panel.
Christensen, the first and only female medical doctor in Congress, noted that current and future budgetary problems, primarily the result of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, could slow the progress toward universal coverage. We are cash-strapped, she said. (For a longer version of this story, please click here.) -- by Matthew DoBias