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What ObamaCare Can Do to You — Not for You

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Dr. Tom Delbanco, a professor of general medicine and primary care at Harvard Medical School, approves of certain sections of Obamacare, but raises a critical matter that has been largely unreported about primary care doctors, whom he describes as “the pediatricians, family doctors and internists who constitute the foundation of our medical system” (“Will Obamacare help primary care?” Delbanco, cnn.com, July 23).

He worries that “as the new health care exchanges offer affordable insurance to more and more Americans, there is risk that a flood of new patients may overwhelm the already-besieged primary care workforce.”

Since Obamacare’s health care cost-cutting rules do not focus on the differences among individual patients, Dr. Delbanco makes a point that We The People must keep in mind as Obamacare takes over many of our lives:

“Numbers such as blood pressures, sugar or lipid levels tell only part of the story for individuals whose genes, cultural habits, psyches and social circumstances vary widely.”

Gathering this information will be a waste of time and costs in the Obamacare system.

But as I can demonstrate from my own experience with my longtime primary care physician, his focus on the individuality of his patients keeps strengthening the quality of my life.

So I was not surprised to see this report from Tom Howell Jr. in The Washington Times: “The United States needs 16,000 more primary care physicians to meet its current health needs, a problem that will only get worse if nothing is done to accommodate millions of newly insured residents under President Obama’s health care law in the coming decade, according to a Senate report …

“Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging that released the findings, said one in five sick Americans visits an emergency room for care that should have been rendered by a primary care physician, an unfortunate trend that results in higher health care costs and poorer outcomes for patients” (“U.S. facing shortage of 16,000 doctors as health care act kicks in,” Howell, The Washington Times, Jan. 29).

Sanders added that “the lack of primary care offices hits rural regions and low-income urban areas the hardest, and will turn into a crisis if lawmakers and the industry do not address the problem before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands coverage to 30 million more Americans.”

This health care expense problem and the vanishing of primary care doctors do not, of course, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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