Ben Carson: Obamacare Hurts Just as Healthcare 'Golden Age' Emerges

Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 07:32 PM

By Greg Richter

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Just as healthcare enters a "golden age," Obamacare threatens to reverse course, warn Dr. Ben Carson and Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas in a guest editorial for Forbes.

"The full promise of genomic medicine informing diagnosis and treatment beckons from just over the horizon," the two write. Young doctors just starting out "have the ability to alleviate human suffering that no generation of doctors has ever previously known," they say.

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Carson retired in May as a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has become a tea party favorite after criticizing the Affordable Care Act at this year's National Prayer Breakfast as President Barack Obama sat on the dais.

Burgess, part of the House's tea party caucus, was a practicing physician before winning Dick Armey's former seat in 2003.

Obamacare was not the product of careful study by a learned group, the two say, but "a hastily contrived political farce that was literally cobbled together at the last possible minute."

The writers are critical that successful state models were not looked at. The Healthy Indiana program, they note, cut healthcare prices by 10 percent during a two-year period.

The Affordable Care Act was never intended to actually become law, they argue "— except that it did." In the past 3 1/2 years since its passage, Obamacare has been "pushed and prodded" by officials "to give it the appearance of workability."

America is on the threshold, they write, of finding out whether it will be a success. Americans without insurance from their employers could begin signing up for state-run exchanges on Oct. 1, but the first week has been bugged with problems with rampant reports of failures to log in.

The government hasn't released numbers of those who have successfully signed up for insurance, but the site was taken down over the weekend to fix the problems.

Tea party Republicans in the House and Senate have led the effort to tie a budget bill to funding for Obamacare, and the government has been shut down since Oct. 1 over the impasse.

"In medicine, we sometimes talk about the compression of morbidities, how the ravages of time and multiple maladies may overwhelm the patient at the end of life," Carson and Burgess say. "That compression sequence also seems to describe afflictions of the Affordable Care Act as it careens towards implementation."

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