Eugene Paslov: An almost perfect general practitioner |

Eugene Paslov: An almost perfect general practitioner

Eugene Paslov
For the Nevada Appeal

I have an excellent GP. He’s been my doctor for 26 years. He’s great, but I won’t mention his name because I might embarrass him.

In addition to treating my various maladies, he also likes to talk politics. He’s an old line, conservative Republican (very different from the current Republican leadership in the Congress); and, I suspect, I’m one of the few liberal Democrats with whom he has a chance to interact. Most of my GP’s patients wouldn’t dream of discussing politics with their doctor. But I enjoy it. Our political conversations are brief – I’m there for other reasons – civil and usually end with a laugh (at least from the technicians). They overhear the increasingly loud declarations as I depart.

Recently my very thin, athletic GP suggested I lose weight. I, somewhat sarcastically, told him I didn’t think it fair for a skinny doctor who appears to have little problem maintaining appropriate weight to tell his slightly overweight and considerably older patient to go on a diet. I’ve been there, done that, many times. His response was informative: “Well you’re a liberal. Why don’t you get the government to put you on a diet?” As I thought about his comment, it occurred to me that the government may have already offered me the opportunity. I just need to be smart enough to take advantage of the emerging stay-healthy plans that are part of the Affordable Health Care Act.

The health care law that President Barack Obama and the Democrats got passed contains incentives to reduce health care costs (including Medicare). It requires insurance for more than 20 million Americans who are uninsured, prevents insurance companies from denying claims for preconditions and provides for healthy lifestyle changes. The bill needs to be amended, no doubt. But this is the same health care reform act that Congressional Republicans and many Republican governors are trying to repeal. They want to start over. Not smart. More than 70 percent of Americans want most of what is in the health care act. I do believe we should debate some of the provisions, but not repeal the entire act. Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Sept. 16 that there were already savings in the Medicare Advantage plan. The Republicans thought it was a disaster. It was not.

I don’t know where my GP stands on the Affordable Health Care Act. But he’s a smart guy. He understands the right of the people to have access to affordable health care. People also have the right to counsel on matters of nutrition and diet.

As it stands now, the R’s want the Supreme Court to kill the bill. I hope not.

• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.