SAN DIEGO, Thursday February 14, 2013 – This past Tuesday, February 12th 2013, Secretary of Health and Human Service’s Kathleen Sebelius spoke before the American Medical Association (AMA) about how she feels doctors should behave to ‘reform’ our medical system. The problem with her speech was not one of substance, but of timing.
After the HHS Secretary, the President, and many in Congress plowed forward on Obamacare over the past few years—against the will of a majority of American citizens and physicians in opposition to the bill—her words chastising physicians to get ‘on board’ with the government’s plan came across as insulting and patronizing.
Does anyone feel America is freer today than it was four or eight years ago?
The Secretary made a point of emphasizing “innovation” and the ‘Affordable Care Act’ as the two main drivers of American improvement in health care quality. This is an absurd and disingenuous argument. First, innovation has never been a stalwart of the Democratic Party. This uniquely American quality has thrived from the paring of homegrown ingenuity and free market capitalism—both more ‘libertarian’ qualities than the liberal party in power has ever been comfortable with…
Innovation in American medicine and biomedical research/devices has developed and fueled the World’s hospitals and clinics because of the absence of Federal oversight—not its presence. ‘Yes’, the National Institutes of Health is an international treasure, but most of our breakthroughs in medicine and pharmaceuticals have come from the private sector.
Obamacare has yet to be implemented, and already healthcare insurance premiums are increasing, questionable ‘preventative’ measures have replaced previously covered ‘later in life’ treatments, physicians have been forced to restrict new patients to their practices because of decreasing reimbursements, and wasteful, even obsessive rituals and mandates have taken precedence over good old fashioned bedside care.
For the Secretary to claim that Obamacare has in any way made American medicine better, at this stage in its political unfolding, is a slap in the face to any thinking citizen.
Today, America is less safe and less free, because our government is increasingly taking its citizen members for granted, and simply assuming that we will gullibly accept whatever they proffer to be wisdom.
The Secretary lies
In her speech, Sebelius said that the rollout of Accountable Care Organizations and electronic medical records has resulted in “significant, measurable improvements in Americans’ health.” Madame Secretary: where is the data to support this statement?
The truth is that we do not know if regional power brokers, working through ‘mini HMOs’ of thousands of ‘managed lives’ and several hundred to a thousand or so physicians/providers, will actually improve medical care and decrease costs. This has yet to be proven.
What we do know, however, is that the expensive emphasis on electronic medical records (EMRs) has done several things to the medical field: 1. EMRs have taken medical professionals away from facing their patients to instead facing a computer screen or hand-held tablet; 2. EMRs have added dozens of additional regulations and limitations, and millions of additional dollars in cost, in exchange for the benefits of immediate transfer and access of data, the transmission of electronic prescriptions, etc.; 3. EMRs have resulted in multiple, easily researched cases of privacy breeches against innocent civilians because confidential personal data on millions of patients is now stored on computers and thumb drives and hand held devices.
Sebelius got applause from the AMA audience when she said that Congress should repeal the SGR formula used to pay physicians for Medicare patients. How odd that the very professional group purporting to represent America’s docs (despite a horrendous history of decreasing physician membership) would applause such a statement with childish glee. ‘Yes’, physicians want to be paid fairly; but, most physicians were against the PPACA legislation in the first place, and the AMA sold its soul in support of that flawed legislation because of an Oval Office pledge to pair Obamacare with payment reform. Payment reform that never happened.
The future of medicine is a microcosm of the future of America
Historically, people in power have had a tendency to abuse their positions of authority.
Even if you applaud the President’s blueprint to dumb down American freedoms (spying, drones, restricted medical care choices, abuses of civilians under the false premise of ‘homeland security’ considerations, baiting of crimes and then touting arrests as genuine feats of amazing law enforcement, restricting pharmaceutical choices/innovation, placing political maneuvering over bipartisan cooperation) in the name of ‘helping the underprivileged’, you cannot deny the long-term damage to American ideals and democratic principles which have occurred over the last decade.
American medicine has always been great because truly gifted and hard-working people went out of their way to help others, admittedly (in some cases) motivated by higher salaries and amazingly rewarding and exciting careers. Private entrepreneurs and inventors helped these physicians, nurses and ancillary healthcare professionals in their journey. But, today, government regulators and factory boilerplate templates are systematically replacing these great examples of American exceptionalism.
The President and his henchmen would be better off simply leveling with the American people about what they believe in, and why it runs contrary to a century of superior medical advances in the United States—at least then we’d have the opportunity to compliment them on their honesty before engaging in a serious debate as to why their plan is destructive to the America we once admired.
Doctor Adam Dorin is a private physician practicing in Southern California. He is the founder and President of America’s Medical Society.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.