POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Gwinnett doctor testifies on Obamacare

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, speaks at the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee meeting Thursday in Washington. (Submitted Photo)

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, speaks at the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee meeting Thursday in Washington. (Submitted Photo)


Norcross’ Dr. Jeffrey English, far left, testifies Thursday at a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee meeting about the Affordable Care Act in Washington. (Submitted Photo)

A Norcross doctor testified before a congressional committee in Washington this week, talking about unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act.

(Later in this article, we will tell you how you can talk to a congressman about the issue.)

On Thursday, Dr. Jeffrey English, a neurologist who is the director of Clinical Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta, participated in a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He was the second Gwinnettian to testify before the committee in a month, after insurance broker Raymer Sale testified at a field hearing in Gainesville last month.

“Health care is a very personal interaction between an individual patient and their doctor in an exam room,” English said, after being introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, the Lawrenceville Republican who sits on the committee. “Unfortunately, the doctor and the patient were completely left out of discussions when the law was written.

“The Affordable Care Act’s biggest problem is not its website, which will be fixed someday,” English said. “Common sense will tell you that a top down program run by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., with a one-size-fits all system for patients from Maine to Oregon, will be filled with unintended consequences. Unfortunately, those unintended consequences are my patients, my fellow Americans, and your constituents.”

English said patients will inevitably suffer the consequences of misguided bureaucracy under Obamacare.

“What we heard from all witnesses offers further evidence that, irrespective of its intent, Obamacare is negatively affecting patients across the nation,” Woodall said, thanking English for sharing his real-world experiences. “This bill was sold to the American public as the answer to costly premiums and the lack of health insurance accessibility; however, it has been anything but a solution. Millions of families are experiencing dramatically increased premiums and in far too many cases, the loss of health coverage as a direct result of this law.”

Woodall said the House is willing to work the president to find alternatives to the law.

“No one in America will argue that the health care system did not need reform,” English said. “The ACA took a bureaucratic, top down approach and the unintended consequences will be devastating. This is fact. Simply having an insurance card that does not guarantee access to providers nor medications is useless.”

Bennett, Broun hosting Obamacare events

Two local politicians are hosting Affordable Care Act events.

State Rep. Karen Bennett, whose Stone Mountain district includes portions of Gwinnett, will help constituents enroll in the program during an event with a local Sunday, while U.S. Rep. Paul Broun will talk to Barrow County residents Monday.

Bennett will be on hand at Fairfield Baptist Church to help people enroll after the morning worship services.

“Second Sunday began as a program at Fairfield Baptist Church, becoming one of the national launch sites for this important initiative. It is often the grassroots community efforts beginning in the pulpit that will effectively get the word out,” Bennett said. “Fairfield Baptist Church was a natural choice for me and the other collaborators because of its long history and its deep ties to the community.”

The southern Gwinnett representative has held many events to help residents of House District 94 with the program.

“There have been more challenges to signing up than expected. However, this is such an important and beneficial piece of legislation that I will continue to partner with the Fairfield Baptist Church and others to ensure that individuals have an opportunity to have access to affordable healthcare. Good health is important for the individual and has a positive impact on the community,” she said.

Broun, the Athens doctor whose district includes Barrow and the eastern portion of Gwinnett, will hold a health care-themed “Coffee with the Congressman” at 8 a.m. Monday at the Winder Women’s Club.

The congressman is asking attendees to enjoy a free cup of coffee and share their stories about signing up for insurance.

“The news clips and sound bites about the woes of attempting to enroll in Obamacare are rolling in from all around the country, but I need to hear from Georgians,” Broun said. “I want to know exactly how the implementation of Obamacare has affected you. If you have received notices of canceled coverage or are being forced to change your doctor, I want to know. If your premiums have skyrocketed due to this law, I want you to hear about it. And if you have not been able to even sign up for health care due to the disastrous website, I certainly want to know. The more evidence we have that this law is an utter catastrophe, the more support we can gain for repealing it once and for all. I look forward to meeting with y’all and urge you to come ready to share.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.