American Elephants

Putting Patients and Doctors in Charge of Health Care by The Elephant's Child

cyzgx68wqaab4xtPresident-elect Donald Trump has chosen Representative Tom Price (R-Ga), a leader in the efforts to replace ObamaCare, to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a very good nomination, though Democrats are howling, and trying to launch a coalition to save their failed program. Representative Price is an orthopedic surgeon who knows his way around the practice of medicine. He has introduced H.R.2300 the Empowering Patients First Act —legislation that puts patients, families and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness.

We’ve all read of price increases of 25% and more—reportedly 100% in some cases, laughed grimly at the statement that “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” But how did it go so wrong for so many people?

The Left has long wanted to control health care, preferably single-payer like Britain’s. Why? The British put in their program not long after WWII, and because it is “free” they have kept voting for Labor in order to keep it. It may not be very good care, and those rich enough to afford private care do so. But old people die in hospital from neglect, or dehydration, yet the people are afraid of changing. The Left really wants regulations that people keep voting for, and they don’t care if it is out of fear of change.

Please read this post from Ricochet by a physician about the death of the primary care physician. He says “We are directed to “practice medicine” strictly according to directives handed down from on high by panels of sanctioned experts, and accordingly we are enjoined from taking into account our professional experience, our intuition informed by judgment when we advise them about their medical issues.” He adds:

We are strictly limited to 7.5 minutes per patient “encounter,” and the content of this brief encounter is determined by certain Pay for Performance checklists which have been given to us by yet other expert committees. These checklists assure that most of our 7.5 minute encounter is spent asking about important medical topics such as the storage of handguns in the home and sodium in the diet, for if we skip any items on the list we define ourselves as substandard caregivers.

This is how the Left operates. They think up a program that will fill all of their emotional needs to do nice things for people. Once they get it made into law, they have to pay for the mess they made, so they start making regulations that will let them pay the medical providers a lot less, because they cost too much. Patient A fell, and thinks she broke a bone in her foot. Doctor sends her off for an X-Ray and gives her a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. That one is under the 7.5 minutes. Patient B is diabetic, overweight, and has a potential heart condition, and needs some major counseling on diet and exercise, and a prescription or two. She’s a nervous type and clearly worried about her health. 7.5 minutes? That truly stupid regulation came from some bureaucrat who knows nothing about medicine, and is concerned only about keeping the budget under control.

Multiply that situation across the practice of medicine, and you see how and why ObamaCare has failed. Doctors are opting out in droves. Seniors have trouble finding someone who will accept Medicare patients, Medicaid patients get sent to nurse practitioners instead of doctors, or are told they can’t be seen until next May.

Have you seen a doctor who has engaged a scribe to take notes of the patient encounter so the doctor can talk to the patient instead of the computer? Read the British papers to see why we should never consider their system. There are few, if any, programs that the federal government bureaucrats can manage successfully. Monica Crowley remarked today that “government has no profit motive, only a power motive.” Excellent insight. Competition, free markets,and small government that does only those few things that bureaucrats can’t manage to screw up.

Here is a link to Dr. Tom Price’s statement, with links to the Empowering Patients First Act and a section by section description of the legislation.

The Weekly Standard’s “After Repeal” about the game plan for undoing ObamaCare.

Commentary Magazine “Cleaning Up Obama’s Health-Care Mess

From AEI: “The four legs of a new health-care system” by James C. , who writes about health care regularly, and Scott Gottlieb M.D.

From the Hoover Institution: “The Unaffordable Care Act” by Richard Epstein.

From the WSJ: “Diagnosing Your Doc”s New Euphoria” Suddenly there’s hope for dismantling ObamaCare—and restoring sanity for doctors and patients

Imagine! A real physician in charge of HHS. I remember when the Democrats pushed through the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote, and Obama brought out a troop of doctors (?) in white coats with stethoscopes over their shoulders. (Is that what you would wear as a doctor going to the White House?) So costumed, they sat  on chairs on the lawn while Obama gave a speech.

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