All those fledgling pilots who left the nest and made it into Part 121 operated cockpits, did so with the same medical requirements that are currently in force at the moment. Although I do not like that, they have a right to their opinion as to what the elimination of the 3rd class medical would mean and I hate to admit that they make some valid points. I do not remember the exact 16 question recommended self medical evaluation, but when you consider that things like Hypertension, can be more dangerous when flying (can't pull over to the side of the road) then when driving, it makes sense that just holding a drivers license and saying your ok doesn't really cut it. Example, a couple of years ago, never having had any high blood pressure issues, I was in a drug store, did not feel very good and checked by BP on the store machine. 218 / 108. Had never been higher than about 130 / 72. If I had not checked it and it got any worse, I could have had a stroke etc. They still can not figure out why this happened, I have no blockage and every possible cause was checked including having a monitor tethered to me for 30 days. I now have a home monitor and have to check my BP twice a day. Under the FAA guidelines there is actually a pretty good high end allowance on BP even corrected with a number of approved drugs.
I believe that the Medical Exam cost issue is
especially for those under 40 that only require a medical once every 3 years. I personally know pilots that are flying that should self ground and do not and have to admit that this is one of the problems that the opponents of the elimination of the 3rd class are afraid of. I would support another form of Third Class Medical where you go to your primary care physician with an FAA form, which shows the auto failure medical items (Remember even under LSA you are required to ground yourself if you get certain conditions etc.) shows the allowed conditions drugs etc. and then allows your doctor (who is probably covered under your medical insurance) to sign you off. This would make sure that you did get checked, but not denied because of some over restrictive interpretation of conditions by someone in another state reviewing your form. This would defuse those who believe that the elimination of the 3rd Class is too risky and insure at least to some extent that people are not just ignoring things so as to be able to fly.
When I was still flying I carried letters from 4 of my doctors each stating that in their opinion and based on their examinations and treatment of me, felt that I was fit to fly at the commercial level. I never wanted an issue with my insurance.
Now that it looks like this whole thing is again stalling, after my annual cancer check up on August 10th (they do not scan me anymore annually, but will if I want it or the exam shows I may need it) I am going to bite the bullet and take a 3rd Class Medical, disclose everything that is going on with me medically and see if there is a way to get a waiver. I know it is a big risk, but I have really good insurance and I can get all the tests done that the FAA requires and we will go from there.
Cheers , Bob