LOCAL VOICES: No free lunch on healthcare, either

By JOHN P. COOK, M.D. Sandusky Obama's full-court press to over
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010




Obama's full-court press to overhaul the healthcare system in America demands a response from a non-political point of view. The advice "do not try to fix it if it isn't broken" certainly applies here. The claim that our healthcare system is 'broken' is totally wrong. Is it perfect? No! There are still problems in delivery of the care, but the 45 million uninsured claimed is also a misstatement of facts-at least half of that number choose not to spend a portion of their income on health insurance and many truly unable to afford insurance still receive care.

How do I personally know this on a local level? For my 36 years in medical practice I provided care to the indigents, as did my fellow physicians and the local hospitals, with severely reduced payment or no payment at all. Am I looking for a pat on the back? Absolutely not. But I am asking my fellow citizens to join me in opposing the reforms the Obama administration is proposing, which will both diminish or destroy the best healthcare in the world and move the USA down the slippery slope toward bankruptcy.

Obama in his last news conference accused physicians of choosing those treatments/surgery which would provide more income to the physician, whether necessary or not. So he would have bureaucrats make medical treatment decisions. Is that what the citizenry wants? It is likely advanced age would make one ineligible for treatment in many cases. This is rationed medical care.

Requiring physicians to work for less (reduced medicare and Medicaid payments have already been in effect) will give little incentive to the brightest students to pursue medical careers. Most graduates of medical school are already in debt in the even hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, believe it or not, there is no overtime pay in medical practice.

Has Obama or Pelosi discussed tort reform in medical care? Of course not! Were there less fear of being accused of malpractice, physicians could be more selective as they should be in ordering repeat, often very expensive tests on their patients, and perhaps pay lower malpractice premiums (presently in the multiple thousands of dollars). These expenses must be passed on to patients and their insurance companies. Money doesn't grow on trees in the yards of physicians and hospitals either.

Another fallacy proposed by the Washington know-nothings is that a single payer system, like that found in Canada and Great Britain is the answer. "You get what you pay for" applies here. If you want the best and most readily available healthcare, you go to the USA. High technology for earlier and more complete diagnosis is admittedly expensive, but do Americans want to settle for less? I don't think so! Delayed encounters with both family and specialty physicians and delays in necessary treatments become the norm in that system.

Polls are showingmore than 80 percent of Americans are satisfied with their healthcare. Why would anyone want to completely change our system? Without shame, I would suggest that many who put this Administration into office thought they were getting a free lunch. It just isn't going to happen, folks, there is no free lunch!