20 Sep 2012 Tomorrow’s ObamaCare Crisis Today — in Massachusetts
Long-touted as an example of how government-mandated health care coverage can succeed, the Massachusetts plan — enacted just six years ago — is undergoing the same problems that ObamaCare critics predicted would happen on a much larger scale. And the solutions that the Massachusetts stewards of this government-heavy “reform” are pushing are also along the same lines that the critics expected.
In early August, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed into law a 349-page bill meant to cap the out-of-control health care costs their six-year-old insurance mandate has wrought. Hospital administrators are now reading to find out what’s in it.
While the cap strategy is no surprise to ObamaCare critics, it was supposed to be easy in Massachusetts because so many people already had health care coverage. But what was once considered to be a slam-dunk has now pushed Massachusetts up among the states with the highest health care costs. In fact, the costs of the new health care entitlement is outpacing the state’s economic growth.
Under the new law, however, health care costs are capped so they will not increase more than economic growth. Later, it will be forced to grow slightly less. It’s not magic — it’s mandated. From now on, the government can essentially tell health care providers and insurers in the commonwealth how much they are going to be able to charge and that’s going to be it. And there are new boards being filled with political appointees that will make sure that spending caps aren’t exceeded. They are empowered to fine those that cannot stay within the government’s imposed limits as much as $500,000 per violation.
Oh, and the health care providers are also being tapped to pay for an additional $225 million in “surcharges” to work on electronic patient databases as well as wellness and prevention programs. There’s alleged malpractice reform, presumably a sop to conservatives, but the “reform” is reportedly devoid of caps on how much trial lawyers can demand in damages.
Mandated price controls. Government boards enforcing costs. Trial lawyers still running amok. Doctors at a loss for what to do. A 50-percent increase in waiting time to see some doctors in just the last two years.
It’s everything that ObamaCare critics warned about brought to life.
Among those critics is Project 21 member Dr. Elaina George, a board-certified otolaryngologist from Atlanta, Georgia. A multi-year winner of the “Patients’ Choice Award” and a sole practitioner, Dr. George says the failure in Massachusetts is a warning of the national nightmare to come.
Dr. George, who is particularly concerned about the future relationship between medical professionals and their patients, says:
When Governor Patrick signed new legislation requiring that all health care providers, in order to be licensed, register with a state board with the power to rewrite provider contracts with insurance companies; mandate what fees providers could charge and punish physicians with a $500,000 fine for spending too much money on their patients, it seems clear where the Affordable Care Act — ObamaCare — will eventually lead.
It’s never going to be about affordable and accessible health care.
One only has to look at what has happened in Massachusetts — the increased health care costs, limited access for patients and the eventual destruction of independent physicians dedicated to individualized patient care — to know that the goal of the Massachusetts scheme and ObamaCare, are unsustainable.
Why, after all, would this system be the template for ObamaCare unless the ultimate goal is a centralized quasi-corporate health care system designed to transfer independence and power from doctors and patients to the government via regulations and compliance.
Most Americans probably never realized that the much-touted transfer of wealth was not going to be to those in the middle class. Instead, it can be expected to be taken from the middle class in taxes raised by ObamaCare to enrich cronies like AARP, the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and the medical insurance industry who advocated ObamaCare.
Now that ObamaCare is law and we know what is in it, physicians must decide if they will honor their Hippocratic Oath and stop participating in a system which forces them through fear and coercion to act against the interests of their patients before they have no choice.
By the way, the latest news about ObamaCare is that the Congressional Budget Office now reports that the number of people expected to be penalized (or taxed, depending on how one interprets it) for not having health insurance when enforcement kicks in jumped by 50 percent over 2010 estimates. Now, almost 6 million people — said to mostly come from the middle class — will be penalized an average of $1,200 for not abiding by ObamaCare mandates. In the words of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI): “The bad news and broken promises from ObamaCare just keep piling up.”