Thus far, I have withheld my personal opinion on Obamacare. If you have spent time on DiverseMedicine.org over the past few weeks you likely had the chance to watch the Kaiser Video on Obamacare basics. If not, you can find it here: Kaiser Obamacare
So, now that you know the basics, let’s think about this seriously. The true goal of Obamacare was not to get health insurance for all, rather, it was to cut the deficit. It is important to realize that deficit reduction is just as important as providing insurance for all. When a government provides insurance for the poor and the elderly populations of a country, they end up footing the majority of a nation’s the health care bill. In order to continue doing so, deficit reduction is necessary. Providing health insurance for all is simply an attempt to optimize the nation’s preventive care which will be a significant financial burden initially, but in theory promises to save in the long run.
We as physicians must understand that the Affordable Care Act will NOT be the panacea for our nation’s healthcare ailments. Hopefully it will lead to cost savings with its preventive strategies, but what it comes down to is that we as health care professionals must take ownership of the problems we created. We have become greedy, scared, and lost our sense of altruism. These are the reasons healthcare costs inflate at alarming rates.
Doctors need to be thinkers! What happened to “the history and physical exam lead to 90% of diagnosis”. If that’s true, why do most patients get labs and tests ordered? Not every disease requires 10 laboratory tests, EKGs, and X-rays adding up to 10 thousand dollars for one emergency room visit. This is simply not practical and certainly not sustainable. Yes, I do understand the concept of malpractice and tort reform, but that is no excuse for us not to use our brains in caring for patients. We have adopted a rule out strategy meaning that we rule out all other diagnoses. Hickam’s dictum is replacing Occam’s Razor (Look these up if you don’t know them. Necessary to be a good physician) and costing our nation billions of dollars. THINK!!! Don’t let the tests think for you!
What is at stake for physicians in this election? Well for me it’s nothing. Obamacare or not, I’m taking care of my patients to the best of my ability. I am also minding my public responsibility to utilize resources appropriately and contribute to cost savings. So, to offer my thoughts, I support the Affordable Care Act as I think it will force the nation to address issues that have been overlooked for decades. But in the end, I certainly am not counting on it to solve our nation’s healthcare problems; I am counting on You. PONDER THAT!!!