Headaches for the Docs
My doc is a really busy doc. He just always has wall-to-wall patients. I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t return my call during the day. At 9:30 that night, the phone rang; it was him. He immediately agreed to return me to my old prescription (and I felt better immediately after returning to it). As he was trying to phone the prescription into the pharmacy, while still on the phone, his computer shut down.
He said it happened every night at about that time. I told him it was okay; that it could wait till morning. I told him he should go home to his wife and kids. But he said he couldn’t; he had to finish up paperwork and then visit his patients at the hospital.
When people think of the medical profession, they think of the glamorous life of television medical dramas. Hunky doctors, hot nurse’s aides, bossy nurses, and incompetent bureaucrats. But that’s not really the way it is.
Government interference has made the medical profession a nightmare. They’re forced through a horrdenous maze of forms and regulations, all to keep some bureaucrat employed.
“My life stinks,” my doctor sighed. “I tell my kids, don’t become a doctor.”
A doctor who spoke at a local tea party meeting gave out copies of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Their fall issue contains an analysis of Obamacare by Jane M. Orient, M.D., and executive director of AAPS.
One of the first items mandates a prohibition of requiring low-wage workers to contribute the same percentage of income as higher-wage earners to their health plan. Premiums will be based on wages. Dr. Orient views this as a progressive, or redistributive, tax.
She explains some of the rules for large and small businesses. The government will require extensive reporting. Many companies and small businesses will have to change their current coverage because it is “so easy to lose the ‘grandfathered’ status of existing plans. Even business that offer ‘correct’ coverage may have to pay penalties up to $3,000 for every employee who receives a subsidy because his contribution is deemed “unaffordable” (exceeding 8 percent of his income).
Businesses will have to issue a form 1099 to any vendor with which it does more than $600 worth of business in a year. This includes rent, fuel, office supplies, cars, packaged delivery services, and food contractors.
Starting in 2013, the 3.8 percent Medicare tax will be applied to capital gains and investment income if an individual’s total gross income exceeds $200,000, or a couple’s exceeds $250,000. Middle class people would be subject to this tax even if they were only “rich” for one day, according to Dr. Orient: the day they sold their house and bought a new one.
An Independent Medicare Advisory Board will be established, ostensibly assigned with the task of controlling Medicare spending. They are charged not to ration health care raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums, nor increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing, including deductibles, co-insurance, co-payments or other restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria. Dr. Orient concludes the only way the IMAB can achieve its cost-cutting goal is by reducing payment for services to the providers.
What’s more, Congress is forbidden from repealing or changing the board’s recommendations. This prohibition can itself can be waived or suspended in the Senate only by an affirmative vote of three-fifths of its members. By 2050, the chief actuary predicts that 40 percent of providers will go out of business.
Healthy individuals will not benefit from lower premiums. But those who participate in certain favored “wellness” programs may be rewarded – as well as those companies offering the programs. The cost of a smoking cessation program is reimbursed whether or not the individual quits smoking.
There’s also a section concerning multiculturalism. Health care education must include “cultural competency,” health literacy, and dealing with “health disparity populations.” Applicants for Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training grants must demonstrate “participation in the institution’s programs of individuals and groups from different racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic, and class backgrounds, as well as different gender and sexual orientations.”
“Non-discrimination in health care” prohibits better pay for better qualified personnel, although the Secretary or health plan may establish varying reimbursement rates based on compliance with quality or performance measures. Dr. Orient says, “Thus, all providers acting within their ‘scope of practice’ will be paid at the same rate, whether a nurse practitioner, primary-care physician, or fellowship-trained specialist.”
Physicians are protected against retaliation for declining to perform euthanasia, but not for refusing to ensure death by abortion, overmedication, or withdrawal of fluid, nutrition, or medical care.
Enhanced surveillance of child-rearing, the article states, “will begin with ‘at risk’ populations including smokers, drug abusers, ‘low achievers’, and members or veterans of the military. This includes home visits with extensive data collection on health-related measures, expansively defined to include poverty, school readiness, and crime.”
“School-based health centers will take over much of the family’s responsibility for health, providing ‘comprehensive health assessments;’ diagnostic and treatment of minor, acute, and chronic medical conditions; mental health and substance use disorder assessment; crisis intervention; counseling; and referral to emergency psychiatric care, community support programs, in patient care, and outpatient programs. Health care professional will abide by parental consent and notification laws – so long as they are not inconsistent with federal law.”
Finally, Obamacare takes up the issue of “Social Transformation.” According to the article, “The section on ‘Creating Healthier Communities’ establishes the rationale and infrastructure for a fundamental transformation involving redistribution of wealth and changing the basic culture of communities through Community Transformation Grants. There is to be a ‘detailed plan that includes the policy, environmental, programmatic, and as appropriate, infrastructure changes needed to promote healthy living and reduce racial and economic disparities’ including ‘social, economic, and geographic determinants of health.’”
These are only some of the highlights of this massive, intrusive program. Dr. Orient states that there are already bills in Congress to repeal at least sections of the Act, promises by many candidates to repeal or defund it, and lawsuits to block it. “States,” she writes, “are reluctant to accept costly and intrusive new programs, even to the extent of turning down federal funds. The leap in regulatory requirements and the increasing criminalization of medicine may finally lead to an [Atlas Shrugged-type] exodus of large numbers of physicians – into truly private medicine.”
Contact your representative or preferred candidate to elicit a promise to repeal this monstrosity disguised as legislation. Time is of the essence; the election is little more than a month away. Repeal this repellant law.
Or else start investing in Pepto Bismol and Tylenol.