Eye On Boise

IMA: If everyone in Idaho were covered, not enough docs to treat them

Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association, addresses lawmakers Wednesday on the Idaho Legislature's health care task force. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association, addresses lawmakers Wednesday on the Idaho Legislature's health care task force. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association, told lawmakers just now that "with all due respect, it is very difficult to pin down the pros and cons" to Idaho of possibly opting out of national health reform measures, when federal legislation hasn't been finalized. "I hope you don't think this is too much of a cop-out," she said. Idaho doctors are on both sides of the issue on whether there should be a public option insurance plan, she said, but a majority of the IMA has come out against that prospect. "We very strongly support universal coverage and access to health care," she said, " ... not necessarily a single-payer system." She added, "Part of our discussion is if we had everyone covered tomorrow, would we have an adequate physician population" to treat all those patients. Unfortunately, she said, the answer is no. "We are woefully low," and rank 50th among states for doctor-to-patient ratio, she said. The IMA backs increased medical education and training and other measures to increase the number of doctors in the state.




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