by George Leef
Today’s Wall Street Journal has this letter by a doctor in California on the loss of choice of practitioner and consequent decline of quality in care that many Americans will experience due to the federal government’s crusade to take over medical care.
Remember, Obama promised that with the enactment of the “Affordable Care Act” no one who was happy with his current medical plan and provider would have to switch to some less desirable alternative. Alas, in politics you can get away with falsehoods.
Here is the letter:
Your article “Health Plans Limit Choice of Doctors” (Marketplace, Aug. 15) outlines the dramatic changes in the health-insurance marketplace, driven by ObamaCare, that will force patients to see doctors they don’t want to see and be admitted to hospitals that they don’t like. The government and the insurance companies are ignoring the reality of the health-care process most patients receive in this country.
Physicians aren’t just conduits to hospital admissions; they are men and women who put great energy into keeping their patients out of hospitals by keeping them healthy. The cost advantages of this process are enormous. And yet as the insurers and the government force larger numbers of patients into the crowded waiting rooms of overloaded primary-care doctors, many of whom are quitting their practices, the result is the funneling of more patients into already-inundated emergency rooms, followed by admissions into hospitals where costs are skyrocketing.
The solution is for the government and insurance companies to change course and begin creating a positive relationship with primary-care physicians so they may not only lower the costs of health care but actually improve the process of saving lives. A good start would be to create financial incentives that allow patients to see doctors they actually like so they will be more likely to follow preventive-care guidelines that avert expensive emergency-room care and hospitalization. Shouldn’t that be what health care is all about?
Roger C. Dunham, M.D.
Santa Barbara, Calif.