I recently joined Docs4PatientCare, an organization of concerned physicians and citizens committed to health-care reform that preserves the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, promotes quality care and affordable access, and protects patients’ freedom of choice. Docs4PatientCare understands that reform must preserve physician and patient autonomy in health care decision-making, because doctors and patients, not the Federal government or other third parties, make the most informed, appropriate, and compassionate personal choices.
As physicians and patients, we want to protect the doctor-patient relationship, promote excellent care, and provide affordable access. At a more existential level, we must recognize that ever-rising health-care costs threaten the financial viability of individuals, families, small and large businesses, as well as local, state, and Federal government. Debt and unfunded liability, driven by entitlement health-care expenditures, exceed $130 trillion and are unsustainable and immoral.
The radiant promise of America that brought our ancestors to these shores for the opportunity to work hard and earn a better life for their families is but a dim glimmer for our children and grandchildren. Reform must first and foremost control costs; otherwise, fiscal unsustainability renders all other health-care concerns irrelevant.
PPACA creates a huge new bureaucracy with over 160 new Federal commissions, agencies, and boards, and thousands of new regulations. Inconceivably, ObamaCare extends broad health-care coverage to 30 million new people (16-20 million into Medicaid, the rest heavily subsidized) while allegedly decreasing total health-care expenditures. In fact, ObamaCare will cost trillions, funded by new taxes and increasing cuts to an already massively underfunded Medicare program, while creating a huge new entitlement that will worsen our nation’s debt crisis.
The Massachusetts experience with Commonwealth (Romney) Care provides significant insight to likely financial and patient access effects of the PPACA’s “reforms.” Commonwealth Care also mandates individuals buy health insurance and insurers provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. Since 2006, private health insurance premiums have risen 50% and are among the highest in the nation. Many physicians can’t participate in the state-run plan due to poor reimbursement, creating such serious access problems that legislators considered mandating participation as a condition of medical licensure. It takes 48 days to see an internist in Massachusetts. Despite this effective “rationing” of care, state spending for the program has exploded from $133 million in 2007 to $880 million in 2010 and continues to rise. Total state health-care spending as a share of the budget (25% on average) has grown from about 16% in the 1980s to 40% today.
Our country desperately needs to control unsustainable health-care cost growth, yet government takeover of health-care can only decrease costs by severely rationing health-care. The AMA, touted as the official representative of physicians even though only 17% of physicians belong, officially supports ObamaCare despite its fiscal irresponsibility and its assault on the physician-patient relationship. With exclusive publishing rights of the CPT coding system and the resulting $100 million of revenue, the AMA no longer considers physician and patient interests as a priority. Just this past weekend the AMA reaffirmed their support of the individual mandate provision in the ObamaCare law.
Docs4PatientCare, on the other hand, has become a powerful physicians’ voice in Washington, advocating repeal of ObamaCare and passage of true reform that preserves the best qualities of our health-care system, addresses the problems, and prevents its destruction by government bureaucracy.
I urge you to step up and get engaged. Our country has reached a watershed moment and your involvement will make a difference! Please go to www.Docs4PatientCare.org, learn more about their efforts.
If you are a physician download the membership application and join now. Pass this on to your colleagues.
If you are a concerned citizen, join the alliance and ask your doctor to join. We must get health-care reform right – our profession, our economy and national prosperity, our children’s futures, and the American way of life depend on it!