The Obama administration has decided to send ‘secret shoppers’ to doctors’ offices across the country to assess the difficulty of receiving medical care. The hope is to find out if physicians accept privately insured patients while turning away those with government-sponsored health care like Medicare or Medicaid.
With the passage of Obamacare, some 30 million new customers are going to be knocking on doctors’ doors soon, and there is some worry that the rush will further strain the dwindling supply of practicing physicians. By the way, more patients plus fewer doctors equals rationing.
This is why Obamacare will not work. Anyone can wave a magic legislative wand and declare health insurance for all, but that does not translate into actual health care services.
Doctors only get partially reimbursed by the government for the work they do for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Which means they have to charge privately insured patients more to make up the lost cost. Which means that private health insurance costs go up, leading to many people dropping private insurance because they simply can’t afford it. Then there are more people on the public dole, creating a greater financial strain on doctors, who have to up their costs to their private patients again, and the whole thing is just a vicious cycle that leads to a single payer system where people die waiting in ambulances because there’s no room for them in the hospital.
No wonder the number of doctors going into general medicine and surgery is at a record low. Why would anyone spend ten plus years in medical school and residency, amass an average debt of $156,000, and work 80-hour weeks only to be told they can’t charge people what their services are worth?
Why shouldn’t doctors be free to accept patients based on their ability to pay? They have their own bills to pay: Rent, administrative salaries, supply purchases, malpractice insurance (up to $200,000 a year!), etc. Forcing physicians to accept every patient, regardless of their ability to pay, is not the way to fix our health care system.
I asked Dr. Robert Sewell, a prominent Texas physician what he thought about the Obamacare spies:
While the unnamed spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said the data would be confidential and reported only in the aggregate who is he or she trying to fool. This has nothing to do with gathering data. It is an attempt to bring every doctor into compliance with the President's and his minions' socialist agenda. Free healthcare for everyone. The only one's who will not be free are the docs. This is quite simply over the top.
If the government can demand that doctors work for less than their services are worth, what else can it demand?
Image via Robert S Donovan/Flickr