“If we have one more cycle where we fail to reform our health care in a proper direction, you’re going to see the extinction of the doctor-patient relationship,” warned Dr. Scott Barbour, an Atlanta-based orthopedic surgeon, in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow. He was joined by Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, to discuss a forthcoming “free market solution” for health care reform.
Health care is “probably the worst issue for Republicans heading into 2020,” estimated Marlow, inviting Barbour’s and Ortiz’s comments on the status of American health care.
Ortiz replied. “Because of Obamacare, about a third of small businesses had to drop their healthcare coverage for their employees because it just got too expensive. They just couldn’t afford it anymore.” He said, “about 52 percent of doctors are now in employee positions” as a result of increasing centralization of health care. Employee doctors are generally beholden to “big medicine,” he added, and are “effectively … not allowed to tell the truth” about the politics of the medical industry.
Barbour addressed the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.”
“When we had the implementation of [Obamacare], we fundamentally altered the doctor-patient relationship, and bureaucrats and red tape were purposely inserted between patients and the access and ownership of their health care and has made it impossible for people to access the healthcare system when they need it,” Barbour explained. “Fundamentally, this is part of the rationing technique.”
Barbour described the health care industry’s leftward momentum over the past decades towards increasing government control over healthcare resource distribution.
“I got into this business twenty years ago,” recalled Barbour. “I remember doctors talking to me when I was coming up, saying, ‘Boy, medicine has changed so much for the worse,’ and then with the implementation of the current system, it really just took a nosedive. Just in the course of my career, I’ve seen how the relationship between doctors and patients has shifted so that doctors’ fidelity is primarily to the hospital system that employs them and away from patients.”
Performance metrics for doctors are largely government-run bureaucratic evaluations, lamented Barbour, noting how centrally planned assessments lack the flexibility to adapt to unique medical circumstances while pressuring doctors to adjust their prescribed treatments to fit bureaucratic demands.
“Doctors now are evaluated by their so-called performance, and I say ‘performance’ because it’s not a real measure. It’s the measure of a bureaucrat,” said Barbour. “If a doctor readmits a patient within 30 days after discharge from a hospital, that’s going to be a knock against that doctor and it’s going to affect their reimbursement. If a doctor has a bad outcome — say, an infection — that’s going to be a knock against that doctor. So what it does is create these perverse incentives where doctors will either keep patients in a hospital too long for fear of releasing them, and they’ll be back in 30 days. Or, if they do release them, they do everything in their power to prevent that patient from coming back to the hospital, whether it’s necessary or not.”
Barbour added, “The other thing is when doctors come across patients who are sick — maybe they’re a smoker or have diabetes — they may decide different treatment because they’re worried if they do something more aggressive, they’re going to get a negative outcome.”
“We just really need to put the ownership of medicine back in the hands of patients and give them the freedom to choose their doctors and their health care when they need it,” determined Barbour. “We want patients to … spend money on only the things that they consume, only the hospital or healthcare resources they consume. … These largely free market solutions are going to bring down the cost of health care and give patients the most choice, affordability, and the quality of health care is going to be maintained.”
“Another thing we’ve seen over the last 20 years is that the quality of health care has just deteriorated so much,” assessed Barbour.
Political discussion regarding Obamacare “never” examined the policy’s effects on the quality of health care, remarked Marlow. “Did health care get better [with Obamacare]? … Why did no one ask this?”
Barbour replied, “It got much worse. … The direction we’re going rations our healthcare system.” Medical students are “learning how to do electronic medical records so that we can do effective coding and billing and collect metadata for bureaucrats,” he added. “This has got to stop. We have got to get back to nurture the doctor-patient relationship and putting the decision-making between doctors and patients.”
Ortiz observed, “Democrats are looking at trying to do single-payer [health care], with the Biden plan, and that’s what we need to be very, very afraid of because … it’s going to get worse and worse, and this glorified socialized medicine that they talk about is just going to continue to get worse and worse in our country.”
Barbour said, “I feel very fortunate. I got into this game at the last minute and was able, through my own personal experiences, to build a practice. I am somewhat free of the big medicine — not totally — but I have a level of independence that a lot of [other doctors] don’t have. I could never be me today because of so many regulations at the state level and federal level designed to choke out the supply of doctors so that this big medicine can control the supply, and they do this for profits.”
Politicians and bureaucrats advocating for centrally-planned health care want Americans “begging” them “for rationed health care,” Barbour arraigned.
“If we have one more cycle where we fail to reform our health care in a proper direction, you’re going to see the extinction of the doctor-patient relationship,” warned Barbour.
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