Obamacare is going to kill you. Or one of your kids. Or one of your parents. Someone in your family is going to die from Obamacare. You can bet on it. You can bet your life on it.
There are many things in medicine that are in a state of flux because of Obamacare. Obamacare is the name given to the most inappropriately termed “Affordable Care Act.” There is nothing about Obamacare that makes care affordable. Obamacare has made care much more unaffordable. What it has done is make healthcare appear to be affordable because of subsidized premiums. The problem is that liberals – and especially democrat voters- do not comprehend that coverage is not the same thing as care. People are forgoing medical care because they cannot afford the large deductibles needed to keep premiums at even marginally affordable rates. Deductibles are especially high for seniors:
Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.
But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.
Hospital emergency room utilization is up, not down as they promised. That means a strong possibility of delay should you ever be the one wheeled in.
Obamacare is not reducing costs as promised either. The notion that millions could be added to the rolls of health care and pre-existing condition restrictions done away with and see costs lowered was absurd.
Those who do seek care are discovering that it isn’t a simple matter to even obtain it. Rural hospitals are dying because of Obamacare:
Since the beginning of 2010, 43 rural hospitals — with a total of more than 1,500 beds — have closed, according to data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The pace of closures has quickened: from 3 in 2010 to 13 in 2013, and 12 already this year. Georgia alone has lost five rural hospitals since 2012, and at least six more are teetering on the brink of collapse. Each of the state’s closed hospitals served about 10,000 people — a lot for remaining area hospitals to absorb.
As they close, patients will see lengthened transport times for critical care:
Peanut and cotton farmer Buren “Bill” Jones, 52, died of a heart attack a month after Stewart-Webster closed. His family had to wait about 15 minutes for an ambulance to take him to a hospital 22 miles away, where doctors couldn’t revive him. The closed hospital was 9 miles from his house, a distance his wife or daughter — who performed CPR on him at home — might have driven.
The requirement for electronic records comes at a significant and sometimes, fatal cost:
But the $1 million or more it was going to cost to change over to electronic records was one of the last straws for Randy Stigleman, former owner of Stewart-Webster. Efforts to sell the hospital never panned out.
The anger residents feel toward Stigleman is palpable here in Richland. He appeared to shut the hospital down suddenly — giving them only a week’s notice. But Stigleman says he just couldn’t put any more money into the hospital.
And there’s one more unpleasant surprise you have coming. Ever see those websites that post all of your personal data and then demand you pay to have it removed? You’re going to see more of that- only this time with your personal medical records. Credit card companies and businesses are frequently hacked now as it is. Now that your private records have to go online they’ll be easy prey.
Insurers have already cut reimbursement rates for providers. This is leading to many clinicians questioning whether they would continue to see Obamacare patients. It’s hard to run a practice at a loss.
Things are even worse for Medicare and Medicaid. Doctors are looking at a big cut in Medicaid reimbursement:
Andy Pasternak, a family doctor in Reno, saw more than 100 new Medicaid patients last year after the state expanded the insurance program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act.
But he won’t be taking any new ones this year. That’s because the law’s two-year pay raise for primary care doctors like him who see Medicaid patients expired Wednesday, resulting in fee reductions of 43% on average across the country, according to the non-partisan Urban Institute.
“I don’t want to do this,” Pasternak said about his refusal to see additional Medicaid patients. But now that the temporary pay raise is gone, he and other Nevada doctors will see their fees drop from $75 on average to less than $50 for routine office visits.
“We will lose money when they come to the office,” he said.
The temporary raise in rates was another one of those mirages democrats threw into the air to mesmerize the public. Medicaid has been greatly expanded and democrats trumpet that (along with adding in dental coverage) as a measure of Obamacare success.
Americans are looking at higher deductibles and reduced access to care. Obama’s response to the increases in insurance rates is to obtain a lower degree of coverage to remain near the same premium. In many cases that will mean dropping from a silver to a bronze plan, and individual deductibles could run as high as $6000 and $12,000 for a family.
The solution that you’re likely to see addressing the expected shortage of doctors is the increased dependence on physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, which leads me to why I wrote this post in the first place.
Never in one’s life does a day go instantly darker as it does when your child calls you and says
“Dad, I have cancer.”
My son (who was in his late 20s’s) made that call to me a few years ago. He usually calls his Mom to talk and I get the report on things. When he calls me, I know something’s up. I was sitting at my desk in my office when he called. Upon hearing his words I experienced an absolute emotional shock and to my surprise, tunnel vision. My first words to him were “I’ll get you through this.” He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and actually made the self-diagnosis, finding a positive supraclavicular lymph node.
Months before he’d mentioned to me that he had an enlarged and hardened axillary lymph node. That instantly sets off alarms in my head and I begged him to see a physician ASAP. His insurance coverage had him seeing a PA (physician’s assistant) who suggested he might have cat scratch fever based on a chest x-ray and CBC. You want to believe this represents the truth but it bothered me and never stopped bothering me and the PA insisted it was nothing. Some months later he called when he found the second node.
We saw an oncologist and then my wife and I took him up to Dana Farber in Boston to see Arnold Freedman, the top lymphoma doc in the world. I remember Dr. Freedman rubbing his hands together and saying to my son “You had a 7 cm mass under your arm and they thought it was nothing.”
If you’re a doctor you know exactly what he was saying.
The chemo regimen that Dr. Freedman recommended was the same as the one the local oncologist recommended and we felt comfortable with it. My son underwent seven chemo sessions lasting as long as nine hours. I sat together with him for six of those sessions, canceling out my days so I could. It may sound odd, but really I enjoyed the time we shared.
He’s been cancer free for several years now and for that I am eternally grateful. We would have taken him anywhere on Earth to do whatever it took. Fortunately the answer was nearby. I could not be more proud of how he shouldered the treatment.
Since then, Obamacare has excluded many of the premier cancer treatment centers from it’s coverages. That means Obama’s kids, Pelosi’s kids and grandkids and Gruber’s kids will get the very best of treatments should they require it, but yours likely won’t.
If you’re tempted to think doctors are paid too much, imagine for a moment what you would pay to save the life of your child. Imagine what you’d think if your child’s life hangs on a cheaper doctor substitute. Health care costs what it costs because people want to live. They want their kids to live. Health care costs what it costs because people need and use health care. The only way around it is high deductibles, rationing and lower cost treatments. As we’ve seen recently, liberals mean all those things for you and not for them.
My son had the benefit of having the right Dad and for Dad having one of the best internist-diagnosticians around as a close friend. PA’s and NP’s are stopgap measures, but they aren’t doctors. Someone you know is going to die because of that. You can bet your life on it.