Stimulating Nationalized Healthcare

Every Republican in the House, all but three in the Senate, seven House Democrats, and a majority of Americans understand that Obama’s economic stimulus plan is nothing more than an unprecedented expansion of the federal government. It’s light on stimulus and heavy on pork. Yet what some have failed to understand is that it also moves our nation’s healthcare system one giant step closer to European, or socialized, healthcare.

Before the stimulus bill was passed, healthcare in this country was a mostly-private enterprise that constituted 17% of our Gross Domestic Product. It provided a service for patients that involved a physician (or physicians), hospitals, and insurance providers. This three-way interaction frequently left doctors, particularly primary physicians, searching for ways to keep their heads above the water in an already heavily-regulated system.

On condition of anonymity, the president of one of the largest medical societies in Texas, who is also the president of a medical services company with over 300 employees, told me that “long before Obama even proposed this massive expansion of government via the stimulus bill, doctors in Texas were already having problems making money. While the cost of operating an office for a primary physician used to eat up 35% of the money flow in their practice, the last few years have witnessed that figure skyrocketing to 65%.”

Where do these expenses come from?  According to David Balat, Ph.D., president of a mobile diagnostic organization based in Houston, Texas, they come from “the various policies and processes which insurance companies require doctors to follow if those doctors want to get paid for services rendered.”

Balat said such policies “increase the administrative burden on both doctors and hospitals. Family practice doctors have to hire 2 or 3 extra office personnel just to comply with insurance requirements and to pursue payment from insurance companies.”

Will the healthcare provisions in Obama’s stimulus package fix this problem? No. They will only exasperate it because the package “doesn’t address the real issues.”

To begin with, the stimulus bill creates a new bureaucracy titled “the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology,” according to The job of this bureaucracy will be to make sure doctors only order certain tests for certain people in a new system of federal oversight where the government literally makes healthcare decisions for us instead of letting our doctors do what they deem best.

This means that when primary physicians spent only 65% of their cash flow dealing with policies and procedures, it will soon seem like the “good old days.” Complying with the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology is going to be both time-consuming and expensive.

The stimulus package also mandates the creation of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, the job of which will be to “slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs.”

Did you catch that? Our healthcare system is being changed to forego the “development and use of new medications” to which we’ve grown accustomed because such things are “driving up costs.” Why is it that Planned Parenthood, which exists to “terminate” life, can run itself nearly into bankruptcy only to be bailed out by Obama, yet medical research that saves lives is labeled too expensive and must be curtailed?

There’s more. Anyone who listened to Rush Limbaugh on February 10 heard him go apoplectic when he described the implications this federal overhaul of healthcare will have on senior citizens in our society. He told seniors that once the new regulations are in place “[doctors] will…consult your medical records [after a diagnosis].  The doctor will then consult federal guidelines to find out if you are to be treated.  And if the cost of your treatment…is deemed by the government to be too expensive based on how much longer you have to live, then you [won‘t] get treated.”

And as usual, Rush is right. Bloomberg News reported: “In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.” That board is a model for the kind of care and decision-making Obama wants our citizens to endure.

Obama’s changes to the healthcare system will result in at least two things: (1) More death and sickness, as more treatments and services are denied to those whom our society deems disposable. (2) Fewer primary physicians, as the overhead involved in running a practice becomes too great to justify the headaches associated with it. If “[l]ess than 2% of physicians are going into to primary care currently,” I wonder what that percentage will drop to once the new policies are in place?

And who can blame the doctors? As Balat explained it: “Decades back, before government got involved in medicine through Medicare, everyone paid cash for their services. And a doctor was making more then than he is now. Because when you paid him $50 it was split between he and his secretary. Now, with the $75 which the insurance company sends him he’s going to pay well over 60 percent of that in expenses, and that’s before Obama’s new rules are forced upon him.”

As KAUZ News reported, “[It looks like Obama’s “change” is here,] the good ole’ U.S. of A. [is] becoming more European-like; more socialistic. [And] this seems to be what Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama want to happen.”

Ronald Reagan’s words never rung truer: “Government is not the solution, government is the problem.”