What Obamacare Could Do To Your Doctor

by | Dec 3, 2013

Will the doctors finally stand up for themselves then? Or will they humbly and meekly take it?

To date, most of the talk about Obamacare is about how it affects Obama politically. Is it an embarrassment to the President? Will he survive, politically? Should he fire any of his aides or Cabinet members? If so, which ones? How does Obama feel about it?

As if it were all about him. No wonder Obama is such a narcissist. The media and the public have trained him to be that way.

The least discussion about Obamacare, to date, has centered on actual doctors and their practices. Nobody ever talks about the doctors. Yet they’re the ones all our lives depend on as the federal government runs roughshod over their livelihoods, professional integrity and motivation for working at all.

Jim Powell, senior Fellow at the research-based Cato Institute, writing at Forbes.com [“The Fourth Obamacare Shock Wave Is about to Reach Us”] reports the following:

Government-run Romneycare — the model used for Obamacare — was enacted in Massachusetts in 2006, and a recent survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society found that half the state’s primary care practices aren’t accepting new patients. At practices accepting new patients, the average wait to see a family physician is 39 days, and the average wait to see an internal medicine physician is 50 days.

Because so many people in Massachusetts don’t have a doctor, there has been a sharp increase in the number of emergency room visits. Stressed-out emergency room nurses are talking about possible strikes.

I’m willing to bet that a number of Massachusetts patients are running to other nearby states, especially for more serious health conditions.

If Romneycare has done this to Massachusetts, isn’t it reasonable to assume the same will happen to the entire nation under Obamacare?

Powell’s research reports that Medicare has multiplied the number of people who can’t see a doctor. Medicare reimbursement rates are about 40 percent less than private insurance reimbursement rates. Consequently, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the number of doctors who no longer accept Medicare patients has tripled during the last three years.

If you’re on Medicare, aren’t you concerned that your doctor is being paid 40 percent less than the going rate for his or her services? Does cheap necessarily serve your interests as a medical patient?

Unless you assume doctors, nurses and surgeons are mere automatons with no minds, feelings, values or opinions, then you had better consider your previous support of, or indifference to, government-run medical care overall.

According to the study, people can buy an Obamacare policy, have costly procedures done and then cancel the policy within 90 days. If the cancellation comes during the first 30 days, the insurer is responsible for trying to collect payment, but after that, doctors are on their own.

How do you expect doctors to respond to this? By welcoming Obamacare patients with open arms? Or putting them at the bottom of the priority list, even refusing to take them at all?

I’m watching doctors closely. As a potential or actual patient (we all are, regardless of age), I want to see how much doctors will put up with before they say, “enough.”

Right now, more and more of them are saying it quietly, passive-aggressively, and without much fanfare. Look at Massachusetts and watch what happens to doctors in your own state or community.

In one form or another, doctors will go on strike. The numbers show us it’s already happening.

It’s already happening in Massachusetts. The strike can be open, principled and uncompromising, as it should be. Doctors should, on their own behalf and for the sake of their patients, tell the politicians to get the hell out of their practices, their hospitals and out of their way.

So far it has not been, and I don’t know if it will be, an open strike of this kind. But regardless, it will happen quietly, slowly and without much fanfare but with great impact. The numbers already show this, and Obamacare has barely taken effect.

The real turning point will come when the government forces doctors to participate in Medicare and other government plans against their will.

They’re trying to do this indirectly, by squeezing insurance companies with so many impossible requirements that they will finally go out of business. Politicians will blame this on the “greed and selfishness” of the insurance companies. But how can you blame it on insurance companies after most of them are gone?

The last ones to blame will be the last ones standing: the doctors.

When government finally has complete control over medical care, most likely through single-payer government insurance, politicians will not take responsibility. They have never taken responsibility for anything, nor will that change in the future. They will blame everything on the “greed and selfishness” of doctors.

Will the doctors finally stand up for themselves then? Or will they humbly and meekly take it?

In places like Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere, most doctors sadly bow their heads and take it. In America, it may be different. Whether you know or believe it or not, you’re counting on doctors in America to be different. It’s our last chance, where freedom (and therefore competence) in medicine is concerned.

Who will remain in (or enter) the profession and take all the crap the government hands out? The better physicians, or the mediocre ones?

If it takes you more than a second to answer this question, I suppose this explains your support for, or indifference to, what Obama and others like him are doing to our great medical professionals.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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