Now that the election is over, we are seeing the impact on Obamacare. In case no one has been noticing, hospitals are laying off employees. This comes as a result of a lower reimbursement rate on its charges as well as increased health insurance costs.Other businesses in the health care industry are also being affected. Medical device suppliers are laying off employees also.
The health care providers are declining. Fewer students are choosing primary health care in medical school. By 2015, it is projected there will be a shortfall of 21,000. With a growing senior population, this shortage spills over into other areas as well. For example, the incidence of cancer is greater in an older population. A shortage of oncologists has been predicted over the past decade. And now these specialists are reporting a shortage of drugs. No drugs is likely to increase the mortality rate. A survey of oncologists revealed that 50% of patients found their cancer had progressed more quickly without the drugs and 70% had more severe side effects.
Hospital closings are also problemactic. They seem to occur first in low income areas. This means that the poor may be impacted to a greater degree than those in a working class neighborhood. Lack of proper prenatal care gives the children an obstacle to overcome just to survive. While there are some lists of closings, these lists are not complete. The problem appears to be getting worse. Even Walter Reed Army Hospital closed its doors after over a hundred years of service.
Various agencies have curtailed their recruitment of nurses as budgets dwindle. Filipino-nurses have been a mainstay at our hospitals. But since the advent of Obamacare and the costs associated with it, they do not feel their jobs are guaranteed. Their immigration to the US has been dwindling. Patients in a hospital might have limited access to nurses during their stay. As the standards for nursing help are reduced, once more mortality rates can be on the rise.
Should this problem in health care be laid at the feet of Obamacare? In a word, yes. Instead of asking the medical industry to resolve the problem, legislators tried a political fix. They came up with a minimum essental coverage. In short, if your condition is not an emergency but your doctor recommends surgery, you will have to wait for a panel of non-medical experts to approve. Various factors will be included in the analysis including the age of the patient and the cost of the treatment. We have the example of Avastin. Its use in treating metastic breast cancer was revoked because it only added a few months of life. It costs $1,000 per shot.
Poor patients who are subject to Medicaid-paid care may not be able to get their prescriptions paid for. It will take a longer time for generic drugs to hit the shelves. Life-saving drugs are in short supply in some cases while contraceptives are free to patients. Once more, there is greater opportunity for the mortality rate to increase.
There are always unintended consequences for laws. As layoffs increase, eligibility for benefits will be based on this year’s income. In other words, if you earned a middle class income in 2012, but lost your job towards the end of the year or in the following year, obtaining goernment benefits may be slow if they take place at all. Government workers are being laid off as well. Cutting red tape won’t be that easy to do as revenue falters. You can bet that politicians will call for screening applications carefully for fraud. If unemployment benefits are not extended after the first of the year, a deluge of financial problems will bury a large portion of the population.
There is no easy solution to this problem. Perhaps the secession petitions will create some leverage to remove the punitive aspects of Obamacare. If something doesn’t happen and soon, our mortality rates will begin to resemble those in third world countries.
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