Dr. Gottlieb: Obamacare Will Lead to Cutting Corners in Patient Treatment

Friday, 05 Jul 2013 07:09 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Affordable Health Care Act will lead to the cutting of corners in the treatment of patients needing lifesaving care, according Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a medical expert with the American Enterprise Institute.

"What it does is, essentially, pit the doctor’s income against their choice of technology and gives the doctor a very strong incentive to try to use the lowest cost technology possible to care for the patient," Gottlieb told David Nelson, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

"We’re seeing the dialysis community underutilization of certain drugs and certain technologies that are, at least, raising the suggestion that patients may be potentially worse off."

One example, Gottlieb said, is the underutilization of drugs that stimulate red blood production. Most dialysis patients become anemic over the course of their disease and now require more blood transfusions because they’re not getting as much of the drug they need.

"So this is going to become a bigger problem once they roll out these bundled payments into other treatment areas," he said.

"The idea is to roll out bundled payments in all different kinds of … care – common illnesses, common conditions that people suffer from. And it’s really a form of, what we call, capitation – basically giving the doctor a lump sum to care for the patients and give him an economic incentive to be cost efficient."

Gottlieb's remarks come as the Obama administration has moved to delay until 2015 a requirement that employers offer health insurance or else face stiff penalties.

Republicans and conservatives say the delay is yet another indication the Affordable Healthcare Act — known as Obamacare — is a failure and should be repealed.

Gottlieb, a practicing physician and former senior public health official, said Obamacare is also dependent upon having healthy young people in overpaying for insurance to help cross-subsidize older, sicker Americans.

"What the administration’s hoping, though, is that a lot of these young people are going to qualify for these subsidies to help offset some of the cost of the insurance," he said.

"So even if the insurance ends up being more expensive than what they’re paying now, even with the addition of the subsidy, they’re hoping that psychologically a lot of people will want to take advantage of a government subsidy to help offset something even if they end up paying more in the end."

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