The Next Boot to Drop?

August 06, 2012

Doctors, patients, and American taxpayers might ask, given all of the bad news about Obamacare -- the budget-busting deficits it will cause, the increasing cost of health insurance, the threat of people losing the health insurance coverage they have enjoyed, to name only the headlines -- what could be worse? Worse is when the other shoe boot falls on the necks of America's doctors and health-care providers.

How and when will this happen? To get a preview, look to Massachusetts, where "health care reform" already has failed to control health-care costs. What is the solution now? As the Wall St. Journal illustrates in an August 6 editorial, the next step (in a law signed today by Gov. Duvall Patrick) is to force all Massachusetts health-care providers to "register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure . . . and report their financial performance, price and cost trends, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share and other metrics." In addition, an 11-member Health Policy Commission has been given far-reaching powers -- "to rewrite the terms of provider contracts with insurers and payment levels and methods if they are 'deemed to be excessive.' . . . to supervise the behavior of any provider that exceeds some to-be-specified individual benchmark . . ." and to force providers exceeding the HPC benchmark to submit a "performance improvement plan" that the commission must endorse . . ." -- all to "ensure that total Massachusetts health spending, public and private, grows no more than projected gross state product through 2017, and 0.5 percentage points lower thereafter." Will this new plan work? Probably as well as any other top-down, central-planning-based approach to social goals has worked. Usually, however, it is necessary to build a wall to keep the restless citizens contained.

How long will it take for the other boot of Obamacare to fall? Probably not very long. Consider these two facts;

  1. Obamacare was designed not to work for a long time. To understand why, read this article by Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School, written 5 months prior to its passage. The connection to Massachusetts is disturbing.
  2. Elements of coercion and control are already baked into the law. To read only one example, click this link to see how the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the power to dictate that a physician must participate in Medicare to be able to order the products and services required by senior citizens. The reason for this provision is that physicians are already opting out of Medicare in greater numbers (after years of reduced reimbursements and the threat of even more). To stop this flight now, and to ensure that physicians participate in government programs, Obamacare is already beginning to build a wall around the practice of medicine in America.

What is the solution? Nothing short of complete replacement of Obamacare with authentic health care reform.

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