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Cal Thomas: An unhappy anniversary

BY CAL THOMAS Published: March 27, 2013
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Last week, politicians who helped craft the Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrated in self-congratulatory style the third anniversary of that monstrosity which will soon extinguish health care as we've known it.

The president's promises about the ACA saving money and allowing you to keep your existing health plan are proving false, as many predicted.

The Department of Health and Human Services maintains the law will make health care more affordable and accessible. The 2013 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians, a survey of more than 600 physicians from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, found that “Six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.”

Based on the survey results, Deloitte found that most U.S. physicians believe that, among other worries, under Obamacare, “The future of the medical profession may be in jeopardy as it loses clinical autonomy and compensation” and “Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements may be problematic, prompting many physicians to limit or close their practices to these enrollees.” Instead of the established doctor-patient relationship of old, “eight in 10 physicians agree “that the wave of the future in medicine … involves interdisciplinary teams and care coordinators.”

One who thinks he's seen the future and doesn't like it is my physician, Dr. John Curry of Fairfax, Va. At my request, he sent me the following email:

“Forty years ago, when I began practicing primary care medicine, medical decision-making and its funding were in the hands of patients and their physicians. The only protection patients had lay in the professional ethics of their doctors. In modern terms that sounds pretty skimpy, but think about it for a minute. The first precept was ‘Do no harm'. Ask yourself: can you hold your government to that standard?

“The underlying principle was that the physician had to put his patients' interests ahead of his own. This was, of course, the Golden Rule, formalized into standards for professional care. It was also the reason I, and many in my class, applied to medical school. It was the reason my wife's older brother, who practiced medicine in a small town in West Texas, prided himself on the fact that much of the time he ‘was paid in peas and pies'. Again, ask yourself, is there any health insurance company or government agency that you can count upon to put your health above their interests?

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