As Promised, Health Reform's Effects Already Being Felt
During all the informing, educating and persuading that Nancy Pelosi, President Obama, and Harry Reid did to get health care reform passed, they made some key assurances. Two of those promises have certainly come true. First, Speaker Pelosi said that citizens would have to pass the bill to learn what’s in it. While the citizens would have preferred to change what was in it, it’s apparent that instead the voting population will rely on post-decision discovery. Secondly, the President himself confidently shared with Americans that they would feel the effects from this legislation as early as this year – and he was very right.
A Houston Chronicle article informed that the Medicare cuts required to make the health care reform budget-neutral are driving doctors away from Medicare patients and reducing staff wages and benefits. That means many current patients of doctors that are forced out of Medicare participation will be forced to try and find a new doctor. So either Obama lied when he told us that, “If you like your doctor, you can keep them..”, or he lied when he said the health care reform would actually reduce the deficit as it would cost $297 Billion extra if the Medicare cuts are removed from the law.
A secondary problem caused by a lack of planning in the health care bill is that the majority of physicians deciding not to participate in Medicare are primary care physicians. As Jay Heflin, of The Hill.com, quotes a health care facilty designer, “We don’t have the primary care infrastructure in place in America to cover the need. Our clients are looking at and preparing for more emergency department volume, not less..”, it’s obvious that the unintended consequences of the reform are not positive. People will increasingly use E.R.s as primary care centers which cost many times what it costs to see a doctor. Of course, it’s still free, so why would the pattern change?