The commentary posted last week was about the financial burden being placed on States by Obamacare. The article titled “Electronic care: Why doctors quit,” by Charles Krauthammer describes an even more important unintended consequence. Doctors who have small practices, often the doctors in rural communities, don’t have the financial resources or technology support to comply with the law. They are retiring because the law requires so much of their time is used for regulatory compliance rather than providing health care. According to the article, the law has created “…a deep erosion of their autonomy and authority, a transformation from physician to ‘provider’.”
The article says virtually every doctor expresses bitterness about the electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces “…nothing more than ‘billing and legal documents’—and degraded medicine.” One doctor observed that “…introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.” Medical practices that hadn’t gone electronic by January 1st have had their Medicare payments cut by one percent. That penalty increases to three to five percent in future years.
What has Obamacare accomplished? Many more people have Medicaid, and that means it takes weeks or months to get an appointment at one of the few places that still accept it. Fifty year old women had their health insurance declared “non-compliant” because they didn’t have maternity coverage. Obamacare has accomplished spending $27 billion on “going paperless,” although the promised $77 billion in savings is nowhere to be found. None of this will make an impression on those who believe government should be in charge of our lives because we and those who have the archaic attitude that they want to own a profitable business can’t be trusted.