J. D. Heyes
October 29, 2013
One of the things I hear most from supporters of Obamacare (yes, they are still there) is that finally, millions of Americans who previously did not have health insurance will get coverage and have full access to the nation’s healthcare system.
When I hear such pie-in-the-sky rhetoric, I often ask this question: “Okay, so who’s going to take care of all these millions of new patients?”
I ask that because the law that is Obamacare throws tens of millions of new patients into a system that was already a teetering mess. Think what has happened to the pathetic website (Healthcare.gov), except on a much larger scale.
Healthcare was an overburdened, overly regulated industry already; in most places, it already takes weeks to see your physician as it is. And Obamacare does not add a single healthcare provider to the system; it only imposes more requirements and makes more demands of it.
So I ask – who’s going to take care of all these new patients?
Well, the dilemma posed by that question is about to get worse, because all over the country, many doctors have said that they’ll quit – retire from medicine – because of Obamacare, some because they refuse to allow a bloated, massive, incompetent and inefficient federal government dictate patient-doctor relationships, and some because they just can’t afford the mandates, requirements, rules and regulations the law imposes.
‘Obamacare will send more patients than cut reimbursements’
This fear and loathing was summarized in a recent report by The New York Post, which said that area doctors were “feeling queasy about Obamacare,” adding that “many won’t participate in the new national insurance program because they fear they’ll go broke.”
How’s that for reform?
“ObamaCare is going to send me more patients to see and then cut the payments to provide the care – that’s what’s going to happen,” predicted Donald Moore, a primary-care doctor in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. “I will not accept it.”
Moore makes a good point. You know how government “saves money?” It just cuts payment amounts. Now mind you, just because government agencies cut reimbursement amounts doesn’t mean the cost of care goes down; that care still costs a certain amount of money.
The same is true for private health insurance companies. To save money – which they will surely have to do in order to compensate for having to now cover chronically ill patients with preexisting conditions – they, too, will likely cut reimbursement rates.
In the end, if a physician cannot be paid what it costs to perform the service, then that doctor goes bankrupt.
And patients have one less provider to see.
More from The Post:
Moore claims that President Obama made a big mistake by requiring uninsured residents to obtain medical coverage from for-profit insurers through the ObamaCare health exchanges instead of through public health programs like Medicaid.
Under tremendous pressure to keep costs down and profits up, Moore said he’s concerned that commercial insurers will pay doctors less for patient visits and services than either Medicaid or Medicare.
Moore scoffed, “Who’s going to sustain the losses? The insurance companies? It’s basically going to be a race to the bottom.”
But putting scores more Americans on Medicaid will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions more than anticipated.
It’s a lose-lose proposition.
‘I’m certainly not hiring anyone new’
“I have not spoken with anyone who has made a decision to participate in the exchanges. We simply don’t have any information about which we can make a decision,” Dr. Paul Orloff, president of the New York County Medical Society, told the Post. “We have no idea what the reimbursements will be or what the claims-form process will entail.”
Indeed, insurance companies – as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for rolling out Obamacare – haven’t yet revealed what reimbursement rates will be, and that’s got plenty of doctors and other health care providers spooked.
Such mystery and uncertainty is also affecting healthcare employment.
“I’m apprehensive. I’m certainly not hiring anyone new,” James Reilly, an obstetrician who has delivered 4,000 babies and heads the Richmond County Medical Society, told the paper.
“We want to see the impact on the bottom line,” said Reilly, who has a 12-member staff and who already pays a huge $200,000 annual medical-malpractice insurance premium.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 5:40 am