Monday, July 2, 2012

OBAMACARE FROM A PHYSICIAN'S POINT OF VIEW

From The American Thinker
June 30, 2012

A Surgeon Cuts to the Heart of the ObamaCare Nightmare

By Stella Paul


The day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of ObamaCare, a friend called me. He's an extremely dedicated, much-loved surgeon, and he was frustrated and livid in equal measure.

"I've actually had a lot of experience working in all different types of environments," he began. "I've worked in a government-run socialized medical care system, and I saw the waste and inefficiency.

"The longer people worked in that system, the less work they wanted to do, because the more you wanted to do, the more they dumped on you. So after a while you stop doing it, because they're not paying you to do more. Why should you do a difficult case, a difficult surgery that will take you hours and hours to do?

"You might start out wanting to do it, but after a while, you just run out of energy, because there's no incentive. You'd have to be a superhuman being to continue to work in that system and not be worn down by it.

"Because nobody wanted to work, it would take an hour to turn over the surgical room. In my private practice now, it takes ten minutes.

"And I saw tremendous waste: closets of stuff that never got used. Nobody cared.
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"Capitalism has completely transformed my sub-specialty. When I was in training, a common procedure that I do now took 40 minutes, and people needed a month of recovery. Now it takes 10 minutes, and people can go back to work almost immediately.

"And all these improvements were driven by the financial incentive. Capitalism has had a tremendously positive effect on patient care and outcome in my specialty.

"But when I go to meetings now, I see that there's very little innovation going on. Everything's being impacted by ObamaCare, which, among other things, raises taxes on medical devices.

"You know, doctors are people, and we're being hammered on all sides here. It's the paperwork; it's insurance; it's insurance; it's transitioning to electronic medical records, so the government can get their mitts into your practice. It's lawsuits; it's rising overhead and decreasing compensation; it's stress upon stress upon stress.

"And a lot of doctors are going to say, 'Forget it. I don't want to do this anymore.' Guys that are 5 or 10 years older than me are just going to give up and walk away.

"Why should I be a slave to the government? You know, it used to be that doctors would do charity work at a charity hospital. Nobody wants to do it anymore, because we're too overwhelmed.

"I work 60 to 70 hours a week, so how am I supposed to fight back against this? Most doctors don't have the time to lobby their congressman or go to Washington. If you're a doctor in the trenches, you've got a stressful job; you've got a family. You're seeing the same number of patients and making half the income you used to make. People are litigious these days, so you've got to worry about lawsuits. When are you going to find time to lobby a politician?

"And the American Medical Association threw us all under the bus, even though only 18% of doctors belong to it. These people are ivory-tower academics, and they're liberals. Most of them are in academic medicine; they get a salary with some sort of incentive bonus. They show up to work and go home. They're not in the trenches like me, figuring out how to compete with other doctors and pay for malpractice insurance and how to hire four people I need to implement the electronic medical records and two people I need to deal with insurance.

"And as a doctor, I get it handed to me both ways. My taxes are raised, and my fees are lowered.

"You know, young people today who go to medical school -- I don't know what to tell them. You couldn't pay me to go to medical school today. Some doctors are going to graduate with $500,000 in debt, and how are they going to make a living?

"You're 32 or 33 years old by the time you finish your training; you're married with little kids. You've been an apprentice for 16 years, and now you're faced with socialized medicine. That's the reality on the ground. How are you supposed to manage that?

"Fortunately, I still love what I do. But I don't know what's going to happen. I think we'll wind up with a two-tiered medical system: a private one for the rich who pay cash and a mediocre one for everyone else.

"When my dad was 91, he had a heart attack and ended up with a stent. He had two more good years after that before he died. After ObamaCare, some government employee is going to decide that he is too old for this and not 'approve' for him to have that procedure.

"It's just a feeling of helplessness. The only organizations that are fighting for doctors are the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and Docs4 Patient Care."

After he hung up, I went to the website of Docs4 Patient Care and found this statement from its president, Dr. Hal Scherz:

After he hung up, I went to the website of Docs4 Patient Care and found this statement from its president, Dr. Hal Scherz:

The Supreme Court disappointed the majority of Americans who have voiced their opposition to Obamacare, by upholding significant portions of this truly abysmal law. Their decision has left Americans now wondering what it is that the Federal Government can't compel them to do. This is perhaps the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court and emphasizes the importance of making the correct decision for chief executive, who controls who sits on this bench.

If you want to cure the sickness that's killing America, you'll find a powerful remedy in the voting booth in November.

16 comments:

Xavier Onassis said...

We needmore doctors like Russell Dohner who come to the medical profession because they care about treating patients.

He checks in at his office every Sunday before going to church because his patients are more important to him than God.

The local pharmacy where he lives won't close until he calls to let them know he's seen his last patient for the day.

"Dr. Russell Dohner, 86, has been on call for 57 years in Rushville, Ill. (pop. 3,192), working seven days a week, seeing up to 120 patients a day and even making house calls.

To top it off, he charges patients only $5 a visit.

“When I first came here, every doctor in town charged $2,” Dohner says. “I didn’t think about changing the price for 30 years.”

When national publicity about his low fee brought the modest doctor unwanted attention in the 1980s, Dohner began charging $3 for a visit and then $5 about 15 years ago."

If we had more physicians like Dr. Dohner who cared more for their patients than they did for their personal wealth and community standing, we wouldn't need the Affordable Health Care Act.

Being a doctor should be like being a priest (but without the inherent pedophilia). It should be a calling. Not a path to personal wealth and glory.

I want a doctor who became a doctor because he wanted to heal people. Not because he wanted 5 houses, 3 boats, an airplane and a couple of mistresses.

Xavier Onassis said...

Here is the link to Dr. Dohner's story: http://www.americanprofile.com/articles/illinois-doctor-offers-5-office-visits/

Xavier Onassis said...

"Dohner says. He accepts Medicare, but not private insurance."

Xavier Onassis said...

"In case someone needs care, Dohner opens the office for an hour on Sunday mornings before attending services at First United Methodist Church, and he makes house calls as needed.

“People are at home and disabled and you need to look after them,” he says matter-of-factly."

Xavier Onassis said...

If every doctor in this country were like Dr. Dohner, we wouldn't have a problem.

It's when doctors starting viewing themselves as small business, entrepenuerial profit generators instead of physicians in service of the ailing that we started having a health care crisis.

Xavier Onassis said...

Doctors and Lawyers tend to those who have their backs against the wall and have no where else to go.

Life threatening desperation from those at the bottom of society should not be a source of wealth for those the top of society.

Joe said...

XO: Are you trying to take over my blog's comment section?

"If we had more physicians like Dr. Dohner who cared more for their patients than they did for their personal wealth and community standing, we wouldn't need the Affordable Health Care Act."

I can't argue that point, except that the cost of becoming a doctor is so high that really low fees like that are impossible.

That does not mean that I wouldn't favor more reasonable priced.

The government is always there to help...only they help make it more expensive for doctors to do their jobs, no matter their attitudes toward the job.

cake crumb said...

I'm very skeptical, and cynical about the recent courts ruling, I'm not a legal scholar, nor do I play one on tv. This years upcoming elections will, IMHO, cast the real verdict on what the public thinks of the ACA. That is if the elections aren't tampered with. But, now' more than ever is the time for Americans to put their votes where their mouths are.

progressivebydesign said...

While Obama has gotten things "done".... except for killing Osama Bin Laden, (and that was GREAT). NONE of the things he has gotten "done" have been particularly progressive. I, support him, but I find it increasingly difficult to give him $$$ because in the end I don't feel that progressive points in matters are taken seriously.

I'm perfectly happy with President Obama. I don't have a laundry list of progressive must-dos for the guy. I'm thrilled with what he's accomplished considering the non-stop interference, attacks, and dirty tricks, by the republicans.. Not to mention the childish attitudes by the fickle progressives.

I loathe the republican party and what it stands for BUT I have often wished that I could become a republican, because at least THEY support their candidates, are not so self centered and "me me me" when it comes to elections. they KNOW that they want to win. They don't wring their hands and post shit like this...

I'm baffled by all the new posters that come here complaining that they can't support Obama because he's not progressive enough. So Romney is progressive enough for you??? What is that song by the Rolling Stones? "you can't always get what you want..." I would never watch our Country go down the drain out of my own special interests.

EzzZee said...

Think of Obamacare as a done deal and live with it. As we blacks have lived with your disgusting treatment of us for the past 200 years.
I kind of think of it as Judgement Day.. Your Tea Pot has boiled over.

Ducky's here said...

Ah, here's Joe with th usual boiler plate.

What surprises me (well actually it doesn't at all) is that you are to blind to see that you pretty much won this thing.

Now assuming you are the standard fringe right winger who assumes that laissez-faire capitalism is Biblically ordained, I don't understand.

Let's start from the premise that the health insurance system in America needs reform.

1. The bill tries to keep for profit health insurance in place. Big win for you.

2. The bill continues to prohibit negotiation by the Federal government on drug costs. Big win for you. Oh you'll continue to pay through the nose but since monopoly profits are ordained you don't harm your orthodoxy.

3. The Federal government CANNOT impose new Medicaid funding rules on the states. Big win for the 10th amendment crowd.


If you can explain to my why you are so intent on whining I'd really appreciate it Joe. Unless you want health care costs to continue climbing unchecked and insurers having the ability to refuse coverage to folks who don't qualify for Medicare (you've got your new hip so you don't care about anyone else) I would think you'd applaud this very moderate bill.

Remember, the left is here to help you lead the life of the mind.

Ducky's here said...

Oh, Dr. Dohner is a Methodist. That explains it, they're virtually Communists.

Anonymous said...

Z..innovation, by necessity, will be gone. No profit, no extra money for experimentation$$$...gone.
And AMerica saved millions of lives thru our innovation in the past.

Xavier, I wonder if the very good Doc Dohner can afford malpractice insurance? YOu know, the one tort reform might help?

I have to add that a lot of the doctors I know are considering 'cash only'...they've been moving away from private insurance in Los Angeles for about 5 years but will get serious about it. WIth internists, it's not too bad because you can usually afford a doc visit but with surgeons, they're stuck.
On the other hand, I know for a fact that surgeons are now charging $70K for a 2 hour surgery because they charge that much so they get SOMETHING from insurance companies..
what a mess.

Anonymous said...

By this ruling, the left is boxed in with only two choices, either they can claim it's commerce and be found in opposition to the constitution, or they can agree with the Supreme Court and say it is a tax (which their lawyers did) and be found to be liars because they just imposed 21 more taxes on the people, when Obama and his cronies adamantly claimed they would not raise taxes. They will try to create a third choice, saying it is a penalty, but those words were not repeated by the SCORUS, besides, how can the government impose a penalty for non-action? That would be struck down for the same reason the commerce clause was.
ALSO; Roberts is forcing Americans to live with their choices, by saying the purpose of the Court is not to protect the people from the ones they elect into office. In other words, you got what you wanted/deserve and if you don't like it, vote them out, like I will.

Ducky's here said...

No profit?

z, doesn't seem to have figured out that this is about insurance and the less useless insurance company overhead we have the more of the health care dollar goes to medical care which incentiveses innovation.

Ducky's here said...

@Z, YOu know, the one tort reform might help?
-----------------

No it won't. That has been demonstrated in several states, including Texas.

Now, medical insurers have a mandated antitrust exemption. the product is controlled by a couple of firms.

Next, tort reform is enacted and the insurers pay out less but they still have monopoly pricing.

Why would they reduce their premiums (e.g. Profits). They have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to maximize profits.

So I await an explanation since you aren't going to admit you're wrong.