The problem with health care

ARMSTRONG: Obamacare grants doctors liberty to withhold care, Plan rewards physicians for scrimping on treatment:

As a bioethicist of considerable acclaim, Dr. Emanuel goes to great lengths to establish his case, maintaining that with new payment models promoted by the law, doctors will be in a position to free themselves from the fee-for-service system that he and others have worked to vilify in the physician-patient relationship. What he misses entirely is that it’s the opaque economic arrangement caused by our third-party payment systems, not the honest exchange of payment for a service that is the root cause of the soaring costs in American health care today.

Using the terms “autonomy” and “liberty” in the same paragraphs as descriptions of Affordable Care Act and the ACO is disingenuous at a minimum and laughable when you know even a portion of what this law contains. Obamacare endows the office of the secretary of Health and Human Services with more power than any Cabinet officer in history and to virtually control the American health care economy by 2014. Any argument asserting that autonomy and liberty are enshrined in the thousands of pages of regulations emanating from the Cabinet secretary is risible.

There is the ‘code game’ wherein health providers take classes in the codes used for treatment to allow them to find the best one for maximum insurance benefit. There is the ‘retail price’ game that has a border war in place with laws that set prices. There is the team of consultants game where patients are billed separately by each health provider that can claim contact with their treatment. All of this is on top of the sort of problems created by unrealistic expectations and inherent uncertainties in outcomes and responses to events.

What occurred with the Catholic Church and its associated organizations over contraception services last week is only a small preview of what is in store for the remainder of the United States.

This is why Governor Palin’s description of ‘death panels’ struck home creating such an irrational and vehement response and denial. Events are proving her right. The core issue is just who it is that will control your health care choices.

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