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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Obamacare will harm the doctor-patient relationship

Obamacare continues to be a big topic on your opinion page. We need to examine how it will affect our lives. Obamacare will provide coverage to a few million Americans who could not obtain coverage under our previous health insurance system, but Obamacare will negatively impact health care for the 85 percent of Americans who liked their insurance policies.

Whatever area of endeavor the federal government enters, the feds immediately become the 800-pound gorilla that dominates everything else. The Obamacare rules and payment structure will become the standard for all health policies in the United States. Whether we currently get our insurance from employers or from the Obamacare health exchanges, all our policies will begin to look the same. For most people, Obamacare policies carry deductibles of thousands of dollars.

Our old health-care policies had much lower deductibles and often had modest co-payments compared to Obamacare. The patient and the doctor were on the same side of the process in trying to find the best care for the patient. Often, doctor and patient would fight together against the big, bad insurance companies to try to get the patient’s needs covered.

Obamacare will be a totally different paradigm. Because of the huge deductibles in Obamacare policies, the battles over patient care will now be between the doctor and the patient themselves. Patients will be writing large checks to doctors for care, and many patients will fight with their doctors over these charges. Doctors will no longer be the “good guys” fighting for patient care, but will be seen as providers who have to demand and collect their fees directly from the patient until the thousands of dollars of deductibles has been satisfied.

We have already seen the effect of this in reported cases where patients asked their doctors to lie about what procedures were performed in order to show a procedure that does not require a deductible payment rather than the actual procedure performed. Doctors who do this are committing fraud and could end up in jail.

When our best and brightest young people went to medical school, they expected to help people and make a comfortable living doing so. Obamacare now puts doctors and patients on opposite sides of the money equation. Ultimately, this conflict will cause many doctors to leave their practice because they didn’t enter the medical field to be highly educated bill collectors.

Obamacare will change the doctor-patient relationship in a negative way for all of us.

Any time the government steps into our lives, there are significant unintended consequences.

Raymond Androne

Land O’ Lakes

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