Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Moral Case for Romneycare 2.0

  The Moral Case for Romneycare 2.0
By Scott W. Atlas, MD

"Since 2010, when the Affordability Care Act was signed into law, the American mainstream media has insisted that President Obama’s bill provides the most at-risk Americans, low income families and seniors, with better health care. And that must mean, by any logic, better access to doctors, more access to the modern tools of diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately better health outcomes. That poor Americans benefit greatly from the ACA, and that seniors will be more secure under the president’s law, has seemed so obvious to the left-leaning news outlets that this fact has yet to be critically examined by them.

President Obama’s ACA law purports to provide new health coverage to upwards of 16 million low income Americans by way of Medicaid. We already see in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that many, if not most, states simply cannot be burdened with massive increases in their Medicaid outlays, regardless of the promise of financial support from the federal government (itself a financially unsustainable funding source).
But President Obama’s assertion about new insurance for the poor and all it brings is, in fact, a grand deception.

We know that 55 percent of primary care physicians and obstetricians already refuse all or most new Medicaid patients (about four times the percentage that refuse new private insurance patients), and only half of specialist doctors accept most new Medicaid patients. Clearly, granting poor people Medicaid is not equivalent to providing access to doctors.

Another sham, one less well understood by voters, is the implication that pushing millions more patients into Medicaid offers good quality health care.

Owing to Medicaid’s restrictive guidelines for diagnosis and treatment, Medicaid patients experience more deaths, longer hospitalizations, and more serious complications from major surgery, cancers, heart disease, interventional procedures, transplants, and AIDS than patients with the same illnesses and health status but with private insurance—objective conclusions proven by medical scientists in the world’s top peer-reviewed medical journals like Annals of Surgery, Cancer, Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and the American Journal of Cardiology.

These are outcomes so shamefully poor that, when comparing patients with the same risk factors and status, Medicaid patients at times fared worse than those with no insurance at all...."

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