ObamaCare Reduces Productivity – 3/28/13

ObamaCare = less accountability, reduced care

ObamaCare Reduces ProductivityA recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal warns that ObamaCare will bring an end to doctor-owned, private medical practice. The opinion writer, who is a practicing physician, also reports he found the application for health insurance under ObamaCare to be so complicated that even he couldn’t fill out the form.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, physician and resident fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, writes that Barack Obama’s landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “is gradually making the local doctor-owned medical practice a relic.” And he predicts that “in the not too distant future,” most physicians likely will be employed by a hospital chain, earning an hourly wage.

That is a problem, he tells American Family News, because productivity in the healthcare sector goes down when doctors transition from entrepreneurial positions where they own their own medical practice to hospital-based practices where they are essentially salaried positions. Using data from the Medical Group Management Association, Gottlieb shows that productivity in hospital-owned practices declines up to 25 percent in independent practices.

“If you believe that the only way to solve our long-term fiscal challenges with programs like Medicare and Medicaid is to get more healthcare for every dollar of GDP that we spend on it, the last thing you want to do is put in place relationships that are going to reduce overall productivity,” he counsels.

On a more practical level, Gottlieb says where people get their medical care is going to change.

“You’re going to be going into probably busier, more austere hospital-owned clinics where the physicians you see aren’t going to be as accountable to the overall practice,” he says.

Why is that? “They’re not going to own it. They’re going to be clocking in and clocking out,” he responds. “You’re going to see different physicians often times – and the continuity of care, studies have shown, gets reduced.”

Gottlieb disputes the notion that ObamaCare, by pushing doctors toward hospital-owned systems, will make it easier to regulate and better coordinate what the doctors do because they will all be working together under the presupposition that hospitals and systems will still be able to innovate and improve care.

‘Daunting’ application process

Meanwhile, Associated Press reports that applying for benefits under ObamaCare “could be as daunting as doing your taxes.” The government’s draft application, released earlier this month, runs 15 pages for a three-person family; and an outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions.

Evidently the application process will be a challenge for more than the average consumer, as Dr. Gottlieb shares that despite his medical background and expertise, he could not fill out the form either.

“Not only is the form to apply for the Obama healthcare exchange or one of those plans [exceptionally] long, but it requires information that no one is going to know,” he explains. “As a physician and informed consumer and someone who works in health policy, I couldn’t fill out that form right now.

“It requires you to give certain information about your coverage that you or your family member might receive at work that nobody has and that the businesses aren’t supplying. Even when they do, it’s going to be very confusing.”