Government run medicine started in the U.S. with Medicare fifty years ago. The Medicare promise of 1965 bears little resemblance to the Medicare reality of today. Five years ago Obamacare was signed into law, and American medicine today is barely recognizable.
I have spent the last six years fighting the moral inversion of government-run medicine and the incremental Orwellian implementation of Obamacare. I fight this mission to protect my patients, my profession, and my country.
Accordingly, I was on Capitol Hill this week presenting a practicing physicians’ plan for actual medical care solutions, offering a rescue plan for when the Supreme Court rules on King vs. Burwell, and defending my ability and autonomy to take care of my patients and practice my profession.
Obamacare forces physicians to betray our patients, violate the Hippocratic Oath, and serve the government hand that pays us.
Obamacare violates government’s promise not to interfere with the practice of medicine and physicians’ ability to care for patients that was made when Medicare became law.
Flashback to1965, Section 1801, Medicare Act:
“Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine, or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any institution, agency, or person providing health care services…”
Clearly the government has broken every word of the promise of this section.
On March 26th 2015, the House of Representatives passed H.R.2, a bill that increases the potential scope and magnitude of these crescendoing wrongs against the patient, the patient-physician relationship, and the practice of medicine as a whole.
The “Doc-Fix” bill was passed under the pretense of fixing the dysfunctional way government budgets the way it pays doctors. In reality, the bill was contaminated and serves to further statist goals of wealth redistribution and central control of one –sixth of our nation’s economy.
To pay for the “fix”, the bill requires that patients, who spent their lives paying for Medicare, to be “means tested”, and the very people that put more into the system on the front end will now end up putting out more on the back end.
Also attached to the bill are Obamacare-derived requirements that doctors must implement an expensive, convoluted, government mandated electronic medical record, data collection, and billing and coding system or not be able to bill at all. If a doctor can’t bill, a doctor can’t be paid.
This system of billing and record sharing must be “interoperable” and will give “authorized users” complete access to patients’ health records. Authorized users include government officials, academic researchers, insurance companies, and others besides health care providers. This violates the Hippocratic Oath at its very core, and virtually any single physician that goes along with this is put in an ethically untenable position.
How did this happen? While doctors worked away in the trenches, trusting that truth, justice, and our professional groups, such as the AMA, would prevail, lobbyists for hospitals, insurance, and IT pounded the pavement, spent obscene amounts of money, and rallied. This makes them big money and further puts government, with whom they collude, in control of even the most private, intimate details of patients’ lives. Such control is essential to achieve the desired Single Payer system that Obamacare supporters and players seek. This is the dirty little secret of the fix.
One Legislative assistant told us we were the first actual doctors to talk to him, while countless groups of lobbyists for hospitals and IT groups had inundated his Congressman’s office. Another Congressman, who opposes single payer and socialized medicine, told us he had never seen anyone from the AMA in his office in his 12 years in DC. (I would love to see who exactly the AMA lobbyists did indeed visit.)
Clearly, this is the wrong “fix”. Under the guise of fixing wrongs for doctors, if not attributing blame to us, blatant redistribution of wealth occurs, once sacred patient-physician relationship is abducted, defiled, and laid bare for all to see, doctors are compelled to pay to play by government rules or not get paid at all, and most importantly, doctors will lose access to our patients.
A great irony is that this “fix” was brokered by, of all people, a physician member of Congress, apparently duped, outfoxed by Progressives once again.
Initially, I was devastated and tearful over the realization that I am at my “red line” and have no choice but to give up everything I have put together professionally in my life and start over from scratch- or sell my soul. But, I will not violate my Hippocratic Oath and patient-physician pact just so that I can be paid by unqualified central planners. I will not enable them. This is tough love time. They can take away every dime, pen, and phone, every provider number and insurance contract, but I will still have my mind, heart, soul, integrity, wisdom, knowledge, skills, experience, relationships, and faith- those they cannot take away. And that which they want and need, they do not themselves possess.
We physicians must forge a better way for our patients. This will be tough, but this is long overdue. So, instead of castigating my lawmakers, I thank them. I thank them for the kick in the rear to grow up and go it on my own as our Founders intended- free to heal, innovate, and prosper, free to enjoy life again, pursue my beloved profession freely, and to serve my patients individually with compassion, privacy, dignity, and love.
I pray my fellow physicians will open their eyes, realize what we are being told to do, and say “No More.” Government cannot do this without us. Their scheme is centered on the promise of our services-that they cannot compel. Without us- they can’t deliver.
We owe it to our patients and profession to make the hard call. We must set up an alternative universe, where patients can be seen by real doctors who they can trust, with confidentiality, at far less cost, without restrictions, and get real medical care. It’s time to stop being heeled and heal. It’s time to stand in defiance instead of defying our principles.
I pray our patients will stand with us. And I pray the Senate will stand against the bill in this contaminated form.
Kris Held MD is an ophthalmologist in private practice. You can follow Dr. Held on Twitter @kksheld
Cross posted from KrisHeldMD.wordpress.com
Photo by l’ennui d’ennui