Why Your Doctor May Decide This Election

Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 02:00 PM

By James Walsh

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Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency in 2008 by securing a majority of the following voting blocs: Blacks (96 percent), Hispanics (67 percent), Catholics (54 percent), youth (66 percent), senior citizens (51 percent), and women (56 percent). Missing from this list is the medical providers voting bloc — doctors, nurses, hospital-workers, and medical device manufacturers.

In 2012, this small but influential bloc could decide the outcome of the election; especially if, after four years of Obama rule, fewer Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, youth, senior citizens, and women vote for the president.

doctor-strike-in-portugal-getty.jpg
Some U.S. doctors are considering a strike like this one in Portugal last month.
(Getty Images)
Obama, the Democrats, and much of the news media continue to ignore the medical providers voting bloc, perhaps because its members are ground-zero witnesses to the harm Obamacare is doing the U.S. medical profession and patients. The news media is beginning to report on how Obamacare will worsen the U.S. doctor shortage, raise health costs for citizens, reduce patient services, and lead to hospital closings.

Many doctors say they will accept no new patients, as doctors and nurses against Obamacare foresee the following:
  • Lower payment schedules for physicians who provide Medicare and Medicaid services,
  • Excessive government paperwork,
  • Failure of Democrats to pass meaningful tort reform to rein in frivolous health-related lawsuits running up the cost of malpractice insurance for physicians,
  • Lack of availability of vital medicines and medical devices for patients as the result of federal regulatory restrictions and taxation of drug manufacturers,
  • Federal intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.
A 2012 survey by the non-partisan Doctor Patient Medical Association showed that 83 percent of U.S. physicians have considered leaving the profession because of Obamacare. In 2010, The New England Journal of Medicine reported that 46.3 percent of New England primary-care physicians believe that Obamacare will be the cause of them leaving medicine. Democrats contend that malcontent doctors are “too greedy” to leave and that the doctors are just whining.

Patients have a different perspective. Since Obamacare became law, patients not on Medicaid or other federal and state entitlement programs have seen increases in their private health insurance premiums. This includes older patients who see an increase in the monthly Medicare premiums subtracted from their Social Security checks. More and more medicines are unavailable or in limited supply. Operating-room delays are becoming routine because of medicine shortages.

Tax-paying, insurance-paying patients wince when they hear that 49 to 51 percent of Americans pay no income tax. Emergency Room doctors complain that the most verbally abusive patients are those receiving free medical service. They say it will be worse when Obamacare or, as some call it, Obama Bucks, kicks in completely.

Some doctors are taking action. At a July 30, 2012 rally in Billings, Mont., doctors reminded the audience that their northern neighbor, Canada, is having major problems with its nationalized health are system. Canadians, elected officials among them, are crossing the U.S. border to pay out of pocket for surgery and other life-saving procedures.

Some doctors suggest a one- or two-day strike by medical providers. They contend that if welfare recipients can demonstrate and “occupy public lands,” why can’t they. Doctors are finding their voice, and Obama and the Democrats don’t like it.

On July 29, 2012, a New York Times syndicated article reported on Obamacare and the doctor shortage, pointing out that extended coverage of the uninsured will exacerbate the shortage problem. The article states, “The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed.”

Young people will stop going into medicine. Why sacrifice the years and mounting tuition in college and medical school followed by low-pay internships and residencies to deal with bureaucratic control over the patient-doctor relationship, regulations, and lawsuits?

Meanwhile, doctors are concerned about the shortage of medicines for their patients, a shortage they see as resulting from Obama administration regulations and taxes pushing drug manufacturers offshore.

Even the Obama-friendly Washington Post Editorial Board wrote on July 10, 2012, that “Major pharmaceutical companies have pulled out of the U.S. market, unwilling to make sizable dollar investments in research and development required for new drugs.” Thus the production of much needed new antibiotics is drying up.

Cook Medical, Inc., for instance, had plans to build five or more U.S. plants and employ 1,500 workers but now is moving its plants overseas because of Obamacare regulations and taxes on its devices. With Cook and other medical equipment manufacturers moving off-shore, the United States will lose thousands of jobs and billions in revenue.

Obama and his advocates discount the voice of medical providers, believing them to be a non-factor in the coming election. Medical providers, however, are talking to their patients. Ill-advised is the politician who maligns the nation’s medical providers as rich entrepreneurs to be placed in indentured servitude.

James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.

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