Sen. Johnson discusses health care reform at USD Med School

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota hosted a roundtable discussion about health care reform with U.S. Senator Tim Johnson this morning in Sioux Falls.

Participants included Rod Parry, M.D., dean of the medical school, Susan Anderson, M.D., associate professor with the family medicine department, Nate Miller, M.D., a second-year resident, Carl Rasmussen, a second-year medical student and Rachel Zaudke, a second-year medical student.

The medical students contacted Johnson about health care reform, and he asked the school to setup the roundtable discussion.

Most of the discussion focused on how health care reform can help provide care in a rural state like South Dakota. The issues included high student debt, the inability for residents to defer loan payments until after their residency is completed, the cap that provides no additional federal funding for residencies and the higher pay specialists receive compared to primary care physicians.

“We were grateful for a chance to talk with Sen. Johnson about our perspectives on health care reform,” Parry said. “Improving health care in rural South Dakota is critically important for the state’s overall economic future.”

Johnson updated the group on the progress of health reform legislation. The Senate voted Saturday to allow debate on the bill. “We are beginning a new phase of what has been a long process, and we cannot afford to stop this momentum,” Johnson said. “This is a historic opportunity that will help fix a broken health care system.”

Download a photograph of roundtable participants Nate Miller, Sen. Tim Johnson, Dr. Rodney Parry and Carl Rasmussen.