The Affordable Care Act is the most recent and far reaching effort by the government to control healthcare in America. Our system has been the envy of the world with both clinical and research innovation at the heart of its foundation. What made our healthcare system exceptional was the fact that it was based on free enterprise.
Doctors were free to practice medicine under the guidelines set forth by their Hippocratic Oath and patients were free to seek treatment from physicians of their choice. Initially it was very simple and affordable – the independent private physician had both a moral/ethical and a fiduciary responsibility to the patient. The doctor patient relationship was sacrosanct and there was no third party middle man.
Since 1948, when the United Nations created the World Health Organization (WHO) there has been an inexorable movement towards centralization of the power to take decisions away from the individual and give them to the government in the form of regulation and mandates. This model was adopted readily by countries and is the under pinning of socialized medicine. The US was notably the only developed country to hold out. However, that changed in 1965 when Medicare was passed as part of the Social Security amendments. Medicare was set up as a federal program that provided socialized medicine for America’s seniors.
- Just like Obamacare, it was initially sold to Americans as a government program that would ‘take care’ of Americans. It would make the Government the benefactor, the caregiver, and the savior absolving Americans from personal responsibility – all you would have to do is put your faith and money in the government and everything would be taken care of with nothing to worry about.
- Just like Obamacare, Medicare was drafted by bureaucrats and politicians who were more interested in concentrating power and controlling the purse strings, not providing true healthcare.
- Just like Obamacare, there were no doctors or patients involved with the crafting of the legislation; and therefore, there was no one who was a true advocate for the patient.
Over the years, Medicare has devolved into a bankrupt, bloated, and wasteful system that has been a piggy bank for Congress (e.g., Congress removed 700 billion dollars from the Medicare trust fund set aside for patient care to help fund Obamacare). Although the costs for seniors have increased in the form of higher deductibles, there has been a steady decline in access and treatment options.
There is nothing to suggest that money taken for Obamacare will do anything more than add additional money to their slush fund. For those who argue that healthcare will improve, they should realize that under Obamacare, Medicare reimbursements to hospices will increase 1% while those to hospitals will fall – making it hard to argue that healthcare in this new system will not emphasize rationing and palliative care to keep costs down.
While people are distracted by the argument about will they or won’t they defund Obamacare, the medical system that was once the envy of the world is being dismantled and reconfigured as a government controlled grid falsely packaged as a caring patient-centered system that will provide unlimited access to medical care, the freedom to choose your doctor with ever decreasing costs. Despite the blame being placed on Republicans about wanting people to die, the truth is Obamacare is set up to do the very thing that is said its opponents want.
If left in place, Obamacare will continue to drive a broken system propped up by taxpayer money. One where physicians, that still choose to be a part of it ,will be kept in line through fear and intimidation, while allowing cartels such as the medical insurance industry and big Pharma to collude via medication formularies and pharmacy benefit management companies to control both price and access to medication.
Hospitals will continue to consolidate and become too big to fail by removing their competition and making themselves the only game in town. They will also limit access to patient care in the process by increasing waiting times for appointments and restricting access by offering insurance underwritten by the hospital limiting patients to facilities and doctors within their system.
The most ironic part about Obamacare is it will not lead to a significant decrease in those who cannot access meaningful healthcare. People still won’t be able to access healthcare either because they can’t find a doctor or they cannot afford to seek treatment. The only difference is they will be forced to pay for the privilege… but maybe that’s the point. Create the problem, wait for the reaction and provide the solution as Harry Reid gleefully admitted – single payer.
It’s time for Americans to stop being distracted by the bright shiny thing ….We deserve better.