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Side Effects: The Doctor Is NOT In

Posted By Kathryn Nix On April 19, 2010 @ 1:00 pm In Obamacare | Comments Disabled

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Doctors are becoming increasingly demoralized. And no wonder!  They are losing control over their professional independence and the Washington lobbyists they hire to represent them are collaborators with an increasingly hostile Washington political establishment. While the President repeatedly told Americans that his health agenda would not interfere with their relationship with their doctors, the reality of Obamacare is that government will have an enormous impact on the way physicians practice medicine.  There is the very real prospect of many doctors simply giving up or refusing to practice under the government’s avalanche of new rules and regulations.

Arizona dermatologist Joseph M. Scherzer M.D. reports in the Daily Caller [2] that he plans to do just that.  He cites the impossibility of complying with Medicare’s bureaucratic guidelines and paperwork. The fine for failure to comply used to be $10,000. Under Obamacare, it’s now $50,000.

With penalties increased five-fold, doctors will feel even greater pressure to follow government treatment guidelines—even when they suspect the government-prescribed treatment may not be best for an individual patient.  It’s a not uncommon dilemma, as reported by, Jerome Groopman, M.D., in The New York Review of Books [3]:

Medicare specified that it was a ‘best practice’ to tightly control blood sugar levels in critically ill patients in intensive care. That measure of quality was not only shown to be wrong but resulted in a higher likelihood of death when compared to measures allowing a more flexible treatment and higher blood sugar. Similarly, government officials directed that normal blood sugar levels should be maintained in ambulatory diabetics with cardiovascular disease. Studies in Canada and the United States showed that this ‘best practice’ was misconceived. There were more deaths when doctors obeyed this rule than when patients received what the government had designated as subpar treatment (in which sugar levels were allowed to vary).

Obamacare is on track to cause a major doctor shortage [4].  Putting government officials between doctors and patients is sure to encourage even more doctors to quit their practice.  In Dr. Scherzer’s own words, “They’re providing disincentives to care that are making the practice of medicine repugnant.”

To learn more about the effects of government interference in the doctor-patient relationship, click here [5].


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/04/19/side-effects-the-doctor-is-not-in/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.foundry.org/tag/side-effects/

[2] Arizona dermatologist Joseph M. Scherzer M.D. reports in the Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2010/04/14/arizona-doctor-says-obamacare-will-force-him-to-close-shop/print

[3] Jerome Groopman, M.D., in The New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/feb/11/health-care-who-knows-best

[4] major doctor shortage: http://blog.heritage.org../2010/04/09/side-effects-doctor-participation-may-vary

[5] click here: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2005/10/Pay-for-Performance-or-Compliance-A-Second-Opinion-on-Medicare-Reimbursement

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