Monday, October 7, 2013

Family Doctor: I Want to Take Care of My Patients

Every person is a unique individual, and you can’t cookie-cutter medical care; it’s individualized. I am concerned about health care under the new law, and my patients are very concerned. - Heritage
In the past three decades, I have seen health care become more and more regulated by government. Of the 15 employees I hire, five of their jobs are completely devoted to filling out insurance forms and government paperwork. All that administrative work can detract from time spent on patient care.

It makes it difficult to take care of the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—if you don’t have an environment where you are free to do that. The biggest problem with Obamacare is that there are going to be layers and layers of government bureaucracy that will try to tell me how to treat patients I’ve helped for over 25 years. More federal control is the foundation of it.

And the federal health care programs already have problems. In my experience, Medicare will decide to suddenly shut down for a month. “We’re just not going to pay you for a month,” they say – that can grind our entire medical practice to a slow crawl. There’s no 1-800 number or customer service we can appeal to; we just have to get by.

These new boards and commissions to be established under Obamacare will tell doctors: “These are the procedures you will do, and these are the ones you will not do.” Treatment will be restricted, reimbursement will be further decreased, and more doctors will retire early, as I have already seen with many colleagues.

People need to think carefully when they say “Obamacare will offer health care to those who have none.” It promises to offer health insurance, but what sort of health care results when Obamacare adds even more government busywork and approvals to an already highly regulated system?
Obamacare's Implementation Threatens A Golden Age For The Healing Arts - Dr. Ben Carson & Rep. Michael Burgess/Forbes
The Affordable Care Act was not the product of any informed or learned group, it was a hastily contrived political farce that was literally cobbled together at the last possible minute. It was never intended to become law — except that it did. For the past 3 1/2 years literally “all the kings horses, and all of the kings men” have pushed and prodded to give it the appearance of workability. We are on the threshold of finding out if they were successful.

In medicine, we sometimes talk about the compression of morbidities, how the ravages of time and multiple maladies may overwhelm the patient at the end of life. That compression sequence also seems to describe afflictions of the Affordable Care Act as it careens towards implementation.

What a missed opportunity. For decades, the cost of healthcare and health insurance has worried Americans. And as we get closer to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, costs are not shrinking, they are only going up — way up.