A Responsible Doctor Confirms: Obamacare Won’t Work — It’s Just Too Complicated

| July 14 2012
David Leeper

A few days ago, I posted an article titled “Obamacare’s Fatal Flaws: Complexity and Central Control.”  I argued that the whole Obamacare system was too complex to deliver on its promises, especially when operated by political appointees from a Washington-based central control bureaucracy.

I know virtually nothing about the practice of medicine.  I based my argument on four decades in the engineering business, where complex systems designed from scratch never work, especially when they are pressed into service under full load, with high expectations, much too soon.

And now from the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee comes the testimony of Richard A. Armstrong, MD, Chief Operating Officer of Docs4PatientCare.  His clear and compelling testimony, at this link, is worth reading in its entirety, but the key paragraphs for this brief post are (my emphasis added):

Although the ACA attempts to address many of the perceived problems with our health care system, it ignores the fact that enormously complex systems cannot be successfully centrally designed or controlled. We have been attempting that with Medicare and Medicaid for almost five decades. Any honest and objective appraisal would conclude that we are failing with those programs. The ACA will fail as well, for the same reasons.

[Some ACA supporters have claimed] that the ACA will remove the burdens of bureaucracy and overhead that currently plague our nation’s practicing physicians. How can we possibly take this seriously? It creates an estimated 159 new agencies, boards and committees governing in detail how physicians are to care for their patients and run their practices. In a time of decreasing reimbursement and the lack of an alternative for the Sustainable Growth Rate formula in Medicare, these claims of bureaucratic simplification ring hollow with experienced physicians.

Shifting to electronic medical records has been touted as a means to improve patient care. Even though the HITECH portion of the Stimulus Bill provides financial support for the adoption of electronic medical records and the ACA provides incentives for those who meet federally defined meaningful use, only a minority of physician practices have adopted EMR systems. A majority of those who have attempted have been met with major frustrations and financial burdens. This is because the existing systems are not designed to enhance patient care. They are business systems designed for medical coding and billing. They are cumbersome in design, difficult to use and detract from the already limited time most physicians have to spend with patients.

Quite apart from all the politics, the fatal flaw of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) is that it simply won’t work.  How many people will suffer and how many lives will be lost as Washington feeds our life savings into this bottomless sink hole, this mother of all white elephants?

Picture yourself pleading for a loved-one’s life with an uncaring bureaucracy of blame-shifters and formerly fine doctors who must now slavishly follow rules issued from Washington.  From those bureaucrats and hapless doctors, you can almost hear the responses now:

The voice mailbox for this department is full.  Please call back later.

I don’t make these rules, ma’am — I just follow them.

You’ll have to get in line like everyone else.  We’ll call you back when it’s your turn.

If I made an exception for you, I’d have to do it for everyone.  It’s illegal.  I could lose my job.

I’m sorry, I can’t help you … I could lose my license to practice medicine

I’m sorry, the doctor is not accepting new patients.

You’re yelling at the wrong person … try yelling at your Congressman!

In the meantime, you can be sure that Washington politicians will enjoy first-rate medical care with no waiting.

In the engineering business, when a system can no longer be patched or tuned, it has to be scrapped.  That’s where we are now with the whole gang in Washington that brought us to the edge of this national health care nightmare.

The Supreme Court has abdicated, and now there’s only We-the-People who can change things this November.  Surely America’s voters can be forgiven for being fooled once.  But to be blunt about it —

Anyone who votes again for Barack Obama or for any politician who has supported Obamacare should understand one thing:  the pending national disaster in healthcare is on YOU !

8 comments
Honey
Honey

Well said David!  I try to inform my patients that i see in Urgent Care as much as I can about this travesty of a healthcare system that as you made clear will provide rationed poor quality care.  

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

Thanks, Honey ... I hope you can keep spreading the word.  Because it affects everybody, this one issue should be sufficient by itself to cause a wave election, sweeping out all the Obamacare supporters.  Meanwhile, news media and politicians focus on where US Olympic team uniforms have been manufactured.  I think we're living in a parallel universe! 

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

The doctors and PAs I have spoken with have mostly said the same thing. Those who have said anything at all have been uniformly opposed to Obamacare.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @dleeper47 We are living in a parallel universe, David. Just the other day, I saw Spock-with-a-beard.