The Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is constitutional and has upheld the law – a victory for those who want the Federal government to micromanage your life and medical care. This is a tragic defeat,however, for those who support our Founder’s vision of liberty and privacy and the right to control our private property, such as our medical records, and our medical decisions in the privacy of personal consultations without government intrusion.
So what happens now? What does it really mean for patients and their doctors and their privacy and their freedom to choose their medical care?
With Obamacare upheld, dangerous threats lie ahead for patients and their healthcare professionals, both from ObamaCare and from the “stimulus” bill passed in 2009.
This President’s campaign promises—no new taxes, lower insurance premiums, the ability to keep your doctor and your insurance if you liked it—were shredded in the secret back room deals of the single-party bill, which Congress did not read before its frantic midnight passage.
Now that people have read the law over the past two years, we see that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is neither protective of patients, nor affordable.
The Congressional Budget Office recently revised its earlier cost estimate, saying that Obamacare will cost over 2 Trillion dollars, double their original estimates, adding massively to the staggering US debt.
PPACA is not protective of patients either. Doctors are leaving Medicare, making it harder for seniors to access medical care. Cancer drugs are increasingly scarce. Insurance companies are getting out of the health insurance business, so that patients now have less choice of plans. As estimated 30-40% of employers can no longer afford to offer health insurance plans, instead pushing people onto Medicaid programs with long waits for care.
In an unprecedented show of solidarity, 26 states came together to sue the federal government to overturn ObamaCare and its takeover of one-sixth of our entire economy—the most massive power grab I have seen in my lifetime.
Along with the power grab, ObamaCare has been an assault on religious liberty and medical privacy, while tracking gun ownership in medical databases. PPACA also violates the 5th Amendment of our Constitution by allowing the federal government to take control of your private property—your medical records and your money—to serve its healthcare agenda.
What the Democrats have done to our medical freedom and privacy is nothing short of a crime in my book. Punishment won’t fall on Congress and the President, however, but on the American people, especially the elderly.
Many groups of Americans face punishment under the PPACA healthcare “reform” unless we completely repeal and replace the entire Obamacare law with market-based and patient-centered real reforms:
• Punishment for the sick. Medical expenses will no longer be tax-deductible until they reach 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI), instead of the current 7.5% AGI.
• Punishment for the elderly. Medicare cuts of $500–573 billion penalize the elderly by delaying, rationing, and denying treatment.
• Punishment for low income seniors, Hispanics, and blacks who will lose their Medicare Advantage program. Cutbacks have begun now, but the most severe cuts occur after the November 2012 election.
• Punishment for those who value their medical privacy. Under the Stimulus Bill or TARP, patients’ medical records will be sent directly to the federal health czar without permission from patients.
• Punishment for those with Health Savings Accounts who want to control how they spend money on healthcare—HSAs are further restricted, shifting power away from patients, where it belongs, into the controlling hand of big government elites.
• Punishment for those who want rapid access to specialists or primary care physicians. Various surveys report that more than 45% of doctors may leave medicine rather than practice under government control.
• Punishment for specialists serving mainly elderly patients, such as cardiologists and oncologists, who will see payments for their services slashed, and for their patients, whose access to care will be reduced.
• Punishment for all doctors, who will have to purchase expensive new computer systems or face further payment cuts…or go out of business.
• Punishment for medical device makers in the form of new taxes—which will be passed on to consumers.
• Punishment for consumers who buy “generous” health insurance policies, as the tax on insurance companies is passed on to purchasers.
• Punishment for States that elect to participate in Obamacare. The Medicaid expansion will catastrophically burden State budgets that are already stretched.
• Punishment for insurance companies and limited choices of insurance policies for patients. New compliance regulations eat into profits and raise premium costs, while “generous health insurance plans” will be hit with higher taxes.
• Punishments for all—except for exempted elite Federal politicians and their cronies, such as labor unions, who receive waivers. The exempted elite keep their private care, yet are the very ones forcing more taxes, penalties, higher costs, and less freedom as punishment on the rest of us.
We need to repeal the entire Obamacare law and restore market-based, patient-centered health reform that maintains privacy and freedom for patients and their physicians.
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and climacteric medicine specialist with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX that take an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems.