What’s Up, Docs?

The Medicus Firm regularly takes the pulse, pardon the pun, of America's physicians. When the company recently asked 2,500 docs to grade ObamaCare, the results were unnerving. A mere 6.3% of physicians gave the law an "A," with most physicians saying it will not lower costs or improve the quality of care. But hold on. Weren't those the incessantly-repeated goals of the Affordable Care Act? At the other end of the scale, 30% of the doctors surveyed gave ObamaCare an "F" and 20% were more charitable, handing out a "D." Let's hope grade inflation is not in play here.

Other polls have consistently shown that many physicians are mulling over the possibility of abandoning the profession they once cherished. A broad Deloitte survey concluded that many doctors will retire earlier than they had planned, while others are cutting back their hours. Remarkably, 57% of America's doctors say the practice of medicine is in jeopardy. That is stunning!

So while ObamaCare may eventually lead to more people having insurance, the question is, who will treat them? The highly respected McKinsey consulting company says "narrow and ultra-narrow hospital networks are more prevalent." Translation: Fewer choices of doctors and hospitals for us.

CNN recently ran a story about an Oklahoma woman whose son has a serious heart condition. The piece began with this chilling paragraph: "Terri Durheim and her family now have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. What they don't have are local doctors and hospitals who will take it." Even National Public Radio, hardly a right-wing outlet, reported on a pregnant Texas woman: "Rachel recalls two days in January when she sat down and called every doctor on the list of 28. According to her, most of the practices told her, in one way or another, that they didn't take the plan. Some would just come right out and say, 'We don't take Obamacare.'" Well, guess what? Rachel and her family simply stopped paying premiums and re-joined the ranks of the uninsured.

There are essentially two reasons that some doctors are feeling nauseous over ObamaCare. First, control. Medical people do not want federal pinheads telling them how to treat their patients. The profession attracts intelligent, assertive people who are motivated to help others. This is not a docile crowd.

Second, there is the issue of money. Many doctors are already seeing too many patients in order to pay their bills and provide a decent living for their families. ObamaCare does nothing to bring down the outrageous expense of medical malpractice insurance, and it is likely to cut some reimbursements. Even if they focused on chemistry and biology during their grueling years in med school, doctors can still do the math.

In Canada and Great Britain, where fully socialized medicine is practiced, it is difficult to actually see a doctor in some places. Instead, nurses, physician assistants, and other medical personnel fill the need. That is what could happen in the United States as the feds begin calling the shots.

Not since the Iraq war has America been so divided on an issue. Conservatives despise government intrusion in the marketplace, liberals love it, and polls have consistently shown that the majority sides with the GOP. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 57% disapproving of President Obama's handling of health care, with just 37% approving. In the game of politics, a 20-point margin is a wipeout, a shellacking.

So here's a hypothetical question: What would Marcus Welby, Ben Casey, and Dr. Kildare say about ObamaCare? These guys usually had the answers back when wise doctors were heroes on TV and health care seemed to be a glamorous profession.

Would Drs. Welby, Casey, and Kildare support the law? Or would they be among the 50% of doctors who give it a "D" or "F?" The liberal sawbones in M*A*S*H might approve, particularly Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, but who knows?

What we surely do know is that this is not a TV drama, it's more of a horror movie. We also know that many Americans are really sick – sick to death of the entire health care debacle. And the best doctors in the world can't do much to make us feel any better about it.

  • Concernedmimi

    My doctor, I’ve had for the last 20 years, has refused to see me any more because I haven’t been in a while and am now considered a new patient and he is no longer taking NEW patients! Now my only choice is walk-in clinics. (This was also my disability doctor)..Guess I can thank Democrats and their STUPID OBAMACARE!!!!!

  • Tjmd

    I think you are confusing the actors and their roles. The characters in the show are the antithesis of accepting any BS concerning how they practice medicine. By the way if I don’t like what Blue Cross is requiring I can not sign a contract with them,however when it’s the government or nothing …… And don’t get me started on healthcare reform without tort reform , demand for services drives cost and tort reform is needed to help begin reducing demand by not having to cover the 1 in 100 possibility of every symptom. The worst part of malpractice is not the of premiums but the cost to the physician and the family’s life.

  • Ron F

    Doctors accepted insurance companies telling them what to do for ages. I keep hearing about the number of doctors who will leave the profession but I heard those predictions prior to the Affordable Care Act as well. Examples were given of physician dissatisfied with the Affordable Care Act. How many were dissatisfied with insurance companies dictating how much they could receive for certain services? And what about the people who now are receiving medical care that did not in the past? Supporter are citing the opposite anecdotal evidence, people who are finally getting the medical treatment they deserve. At this point in time, for the most part we are hearing about what people think will happen. I opposed the Affordable Care Act because I thought it was an expansion of federal government control over peoples’ lives that is not allowed by the Constitution. In fact the Supreme Court held that Congress did not have the power under the commerce clause but under the taxing authority. I hope the cases challenging the act because it did not originate in the House of Representatives are successful. I oppose the Affordable Care Act even more because of its implementation. I do not think the President has the authority to enforce part of the law and suspend portions of the law. The President does not have the authority to change the law by just suspending the portions of the law that are uncomfortable for him.

    • Harvey Melton

      many doctors in my area are only accepting cash or private ins but not aca or obamacare, this is because even though many might not be satisfied by the amount they are paid by private ins. they prefer it over what the govt pays them which is next to nothing if not nothing depending if it is a covered condition. and these doctors after investing so much in time and money in their education and practice who then can honestly blame them for how they feel.? the ACA is all about Control,it is nothing more than a govt.ran ponzi scheme(Google”Ponzi” similar to madoff.)this administration is truly a Chicago style crime syndicate in action.

      • Ron F

        Harvey, ACA is for the most part private insurance. Insurance companies reimburse doctors, not the government. In addition, we did have similar problems with private employer provided health insurance. Some doctors were in networks some were not. If not, you had to pay more money. Some doctors were in HMO plans some were not. If you were in an HMO, generally wait times were longer. Nevertheless, we will have to see what happens in the long run. I fear it will be terrible but I do not know why my prediction is any better or worse than anyone else’s.

  • gold7406

    Spot on. I asked my physician what he thought of ACA? He got red faced and said, “this is not why I went to medical school.” “I don’t appreciate the government telling me that I have to now work longer, harder and see more patients than I use to for the same or less money.” “My risk for getting sued jumps substantially and my overall liability increases.”
    He’s correct.