Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. NOT.

As a result of a provision of Obamacare that slipped past the radar (could it have been the unseemly haste with which this massive, nation-altering law was rammed through Congress?), many patients will be asking the doctor for a prescription for…aspirin. Gentle Reader, I am not pulling your leg.

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Sandy Chung is grappling with a new kind of request at her pediatrics office in Fairfax, Va.: prescriptions for aspirin and diaper-rash cream.

Patients are demanding doctors’ orders for over-the-counter products because of a provision in the health-care overhaul that slipped past nearly everyone’s radar. It says people who want a tax break to buy such items with what’s known as flexible-spending accounts need to get a prescription first.

The result is that Americans are visiting their doctors before making a trip to the drugstore, hoping their physician will help them out by writing the prescription. The new requirements create not only an added burden for doctors, but also new complications for retailers and pharmacies.

 “It drives up the cost of health care as opposed to reducing it,” says Dr. Chung, who rejected much of a 10-item request from a mother of four that included pain relievers and children’s cold medicine.

Though the new rules on over-the-counter drugs amount to a small part of the massive overhaul of the health-care system, the unintended side effects show how difficult it can be to predict how such game-changing legislation will play out in the real world.

The health care law was shoved through Congress so quickly because its supporters realized that they had only a small window of opportunity to make a long-held ideological dream a reality (make that nightmare). The speed practically ensured that the new system would be a disaster. It is.

Other unintended consequences:

The over-the-counter provision isn’t the only part of the health-care law that has defied expectations.

Health-policy experts predicted that new insurance pools for high-risk patients would attract so many expensive enrollees that funding would be quickly exhausted. In fact, enrollment is running at just 6% of expectations, partly because of high premiums.

A provision preventing insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions prompted insurers in dozens of states to stop selling child-only policies altogether.

And a piece of the law designed to centralize patient care by encouraging health-care providers to collaborate is running into antitrust concerns from regulators.

But here’s the best thing about the aspirin fiasco:

To the handful of congressional aides who came up with the idea to limit tax breaks on over-the-counter drugs, it was supposed to be a minor tweak to raise revenue and to discourage wasteful spending on health products.

Do you ever think half the mischief in this world could be eliminated by halving the size of  congressional staffs?