Monday, November 29, 2010

Senators Barrasso and Coburn To Medical Students

US Senators John Barrasso, M.D., (R-Wyoming) and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Oklahoma) have written an open letter to American medical students about ObamaCare. Both of them are practicing physicians as well as US senators.

Here are a couple of key excerpts, discussing both current problems -- and future problems under ObamaCare:
Today, many physicians face a series of obstacles. They are forced to watch the clock. They are over-burdened by Washington mandates, paperwork requirements, and low reimbursement rates. And they feel tremendous pressure to increase the volume of patients they see each day—rather than having sufficient time to give each patient the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, even bigger changes for the medical community lie ahead.

...Instead of making it easier for doctors to connect with their patients, the new health care law gives Washington more power to determine care. Washington already funds 60 percent of health care in America. The health care law increases Washington’s role by creating more than 150 boards and entities invested with new powers that will inevitably intrude on the patient-physician relationship.

The new law also encourages "cookbook medicine" with new comparative effectiveness authorities that will make coverage determinations based on cost -- rather than what may be best for individual patients.

Another similar new entity is an Independent Payment Advisory Board -- a panel of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who are empowered to administer top-down reimbursement cuts designed to reduce federal health care spending.
(Read the full text of their open letter.)

Note: Although I don't necessarily agree with all of Coburn's proposed alternatives expressed elsewhere, they have nicely summarized some critical problems with ObamaCare.