The Negative Effect of Obamacare on Health Care in Ohio

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Sylvan Lee Weinberg, MD, MACC, 4555 Southern Boulevard, Dayton, OH 45429. E:

Although Obamacare legislation does not take full effect until 2014, Lloyd Krieger, MD, published an article in the February 23, 2011 Wall Street Journal titled “Obamacare is Already Damaging Health Care in Ohio.” He points out that while Republicans now control the House, even if they are able to defund or repeal Obamacare, new laws will be required to offset the damage already done. Doctors are already under pressure because of the new law. Six years ago doctors owned two-thirds of medical practices in the US. By next year, two-thirds will be salaried employees of larger institutions. This according to the Medical Group Management Association.

Under these circumstances, government and its bureaucrats will be more able to take control. This is likely to be expressed in terms of limited access to expensive specialists such as advanced radiologists, interventional cardiologists, surgeons, and internists whose access to the use of expensive, but life saving medications, must be approved by government fiat. In a word, this means that the doctor–patient relationship will be down-graded and subordinated to government functionaries and their dictates. One can only wonder what effect, over time, this eventuality will have on the quality of the men and women who will apply to our medical schools.

And now to consider what impact Obamacare legislation has already had in Ohio. A month ago, Mary Taylor, Lt Governor of Ohio and Director of its Department of Insurance, issued a statement that the Obama Healthcare Law will have a negative effect on Ohio consumers, businesses and insurance market. This is based on a study by Milliman Inc., which said that while the Obamacare law, which will not be in full effect until 2014, it will then increase individual insurance premiums in Ohio by 55–85 %, not including the current trend of 7–8 % annually, and dramatically expanding government programs. Taylor adds that some people might see their premiums rising by 90–130 %, depending on health status, while conceding that some might see a decline in premiums. More than one million Ohioans will join the Medicaid rolls by 2014 and 500,000 are expected to enroll in some sort of government subsidized healthcare program.

In response to all of this, Lt Governor Taylor added: “Ohio is in the midst of a challenging recovery and we just balanced our state budget in the face of an $8 billion hole. Handcuffing states with Obama’s one-size-fits-all is not the reform we need. Ohioans deserve a consumer driven, market based approach that provides adequate protections, along with accountability, affordability, and transparency. We do not need a government knows best set of mandates”. And previously, she had said very astutely: “While Obamacare supporters may argue these changes are necessary to insure access, the results mean more financial burdens on the backs of tax payers.”

Would that the denizens of the White House in Washington had the wisdom of Ohio’s Lt Governor Taylor.