Reality of Obamacare

by Steve Lancaster    5/2/14

I had a visit with my GP yesterday. He says that I am in wonderful shape for a man of 80, I’m 66 :). One of the realities of Obamacare is the impact on his business. On registering I was informed that I could now sign up for online access to my medical records, “seriously! Why I ask the nice office clerk would I want my records available to any hacker?” Her reply was just that I could opt out if I wanted. I resolved to have a chat with Doc Jim when I saw him.

Jim and his fellows run a clinic in the medical district of our town. The demographic is mostly middle-class with many patients who have had quality insurance for most of their working lives and are employees of the university or kin of university staff. Jim told me that as a business decision in 2007 they decided to stop taking new patients on Medicare. They are continuing to treat those who came to them before the cut-off and those whose status because of age and retirement are now on Medicare. Jim told me that the payment from Medicare seldom covers his expenses and there is no way he can care for patients whose ability to pay is greater if he is forced to accept new Medicare patients.

The online access to medical records is a part of Obamacare mandates. Jim does not like it for many reasons, security being the main reason, but also the added expense to his business to maintain and attempt to keep secure records. “If the NSA can hack my phone does anyone think my web site is secure?” I don’t think that rhetorical question even needs to be addressed. Jim said that he now spends at least two hours daily dealing with Obamacare paperwork and not seeing patients and the time to get an appointment has lengthened from about a month to 4 months often longer.

Jim is a professional and is attempting to deal with a situation that stifles his ability to make a living. He is about to turn 60 and is giving real thought to retirement, not because he does not love what he does but because he is frustrated, angry and depressed that he cannot do what he loves because of government. How many Dr. Jims are there about to make the same decision?
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3 Responses to Reality of Obamacare

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I have read that Obamacare’s paperwork has actually been counterproductive (which is increasingly what we expect from government programs, the only question being whether in any particular case it’s deliberate, as it no doubt often is). There are so many options that the doctors don’t have time to answer the questions carefully and honestly, so the results aren’t very reliable. (Just like government itself. Actually, I guess government is reliable — just reliably bad. Arthur Peabody Goodpasture in Don Quixote USA, which I reviewed here several months ago, would have understood perfectly.)

  2. Anniel says:

    Doctors are trying many innovative ideas for getting around the stupidities of ObamaCare, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do with the bureaucrats in charge. One development I liked happened to a friend who became ill while staying at a large hotel. He called the front desk to see if there was a doc-in-the-box near and was told that the hotel could send a doctor to his room in about 15 minutes and they would add the charge to his hotel bill. The doc came, bringing some commonly used meds, and fixed him up. He told my friend that his group never takes Medicare or any insurance. They have a one-room office with a manager and five to seven doctors on call at any time. They make more money without the stress of managing a practice and they take calls at homes and accommodations all over the city. They can charge less for what they do because their overhead is so low. Don’t know how long they’ll be left alone though.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This sounds similar to the doctors I’ve read about it who are simply dropping out of the whole third-party payer system — they don’t insurance, they don’t take government money. Basically, it’s a cash service, though one can pay in advance for a certain amount of care as well as paying for specific services. If “Health” and Inhuman Services can be prevented from interfering with such practices, they may save American healthcare.

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