Free Markets, Free People
The looming health care bomb – a scenario
As we stand by and wait for the ObamaCare law to take effect, enthusiasm within the medical profession seems to be waning (even more) as that time nears:
In late December, a survey of 501 physicians was released by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions research group, whose parent company serves clients in the health care industry. Nearly half (48%) expected health reform to hurt their incomes this year, while 73% said it would not reduce costs.
Though this isn’t a scientific survey, and other such surveys have and will show physicians’ support for the Affordable Care Act, the early glimpse of the law’s potential impact will likely lead to economic pain for doctors and a diminished system for their patients. Indeed, the Deloitte survey found that 69% of the physicians are "pessimistic about the future of medicine" because of the law.
It may not be scientific, but it certainly seems indicative of attitudes in the medical profession. I mentioned one example of what was shaping this sort of an opinion in an earlier post.
Here’s another little factoid one might find interesting that tells a bit of a story too:
An online survey in September by the Jackson & Coker physician recruitment firm — based on 1,611 doctors who chose to respond — reflected that the majority of doctors don’t believe that the AMA represents their views. The primary reason: the AMA’s support of the legislation. Just 13% of those surveyed backed the Affordable Care Act.
As you recall, the American Medical Association came out in favor of the law.
There’s an unintended consequence from all of this (some would argue it’s intended):
The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the USA will be 160,000 physicians short by 2025 (when all patients would be insured under ObamaCare), and this is without even considering those doctors who will limit their practice to insured patients because of decreasing reimbursements or who retire early when faced with increasing costs with little return.
Of course the reason to mention that perhaps the consequences are intended is to point out that this still isn’t the single payer system that those who passed the legislation preferred.
So one has to wonder, how does an ideologue take the lemon of ObamaCare and make it into the socialist lemonade of a government run single-payer system. Well what exists in the form of ObamaCare is certainly a good step one, isn’t it?
It will be so unsatisfactory that one supposes there will be a terrible outcry. With fewer health care workers, care will get worse, not better (to my knowledge the population of the country is still expanding, not contracting). That’s a simple fact that is irrefutable.
Depending on who is in power in DC, government will present itself as the savior to this awful “market failure”. And the usual suspects will dutifully echo and expand on how the market has again let us all down. The result of this will be the final elimination of private insurance as an option for most and the expansion of government control in the guise of the left’s much desired single-payer system
Of course, to make that work, the conscription of all health care workers as government employees.
That scenario isn’t as far fetched as some would like to believe or contend. Obviously, the court fight that’s going on right now will have some say in how or if the scenario develops that way. However, assuming the law is upheld for the sake of argument, and having observed the way the political world works for decades, I think the scenario is quite plausible.
And of course, single payer will be a disaster. Why? Because as Medicare continually proves, bureaucrats think they know more than doctors and certainly more than patients.
There is widespread support, in Congress and among economists, for the broad ideal that Medicare would save money if it paid for better outcomes instead of more procedures. But 20 years of trying to shift the program in that direction have yielded little to no progress, CBO said Wednesday.
CBO analyzed six programs designed to improve care coordination for patients with chronic diseases. They either made no difference or were actually more expensive than the traditional payment system.
That’s because, as noted in the link I cited earlier to the previous post, the bureaucrats refuse to revise their system of payment based on what would best serve the patient. And it isn’t a far stretch to believe the same system would be extant in any single-payer plan. Politicians and economists come and go, but bureaucracies live forever.
So the bomb sits out there ticking away. If it is allowed to explode, it will destroy health care as we know it today and most likely impose an even more debilitated form of Medicare on all. Yes, most seniors say they like Medicare – do they have a choice? Would they like to see an even less capable form of it exist? Just ask them.
In the meantime remember – Freedom equals choice. Whenever choices are limited so is your liberty. When government gets in the business of limiting your choices it is no longer in the business of ensuring your liberty. And limiting your choices in all sorts of areas, to include health care, is exactly the business our government is in today.
Another, in a long line of reasons, to retire the current occupant of the White House in November.