"Obamacare Has Problems"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, January 9, 2015

Our president decided he would find a way for all citizens of the United States to receive medical insurance. You all know the story about Obamacare — it ran into many road blocks. Promises made were turned away, such as no more donut hole, first promised to be gone by 2014 and now slated to phase out by 2020. Everyone was told they could keep the coverage they had and all citizens would be able to obtain coverage.

The history of the plan, passed by only seven votes and signed into law in June 2010, has been full of controversy since its inception. Twenty-six states filed lawsuits against it and the Supreme Court finally had to settle them. It took until June 2012 for their rulings to be complete, which then allowed the plan to move along. Most major provisions of the plan were not enacted until January 2014.

Promises made when the president first introduced the plan were set aside without any real explanation. The Senate and House never agreed on how to pass the complete bill (or any bills for that matter). We were expected to believe we were denied what we were told to anticipate because our government is “out of order.”

I spoke to a person representing the medical profession as he attempts to deal with the many aspects of Obamacare. He told me about what he had learned regarding how the subsidies to families in need are handled. If a family qualifies for a $300 subsidy, the payment goes to the insurance company, qualifiers never receive the funds. At the end of the tax year, if the family’s income changes and they are only eligible for $200, they must pay back the difference.

One of my doctors has diligently worked to meet all the requirements set forth by Obamacare. He purchased expensive equipment updates and installed the computer software necessary for compliance. The need to spend many hours of training on how to incorporate the new procedures also was a tremendous burden. The result has been less time spent on patient care and more time inputting data. After all the efforts, his practice is still falling short of meeting the levels to qualify and he will likely pay a penalty.

Another doctor of mine, with a small practice, studied all the data as it became available and realized he could not possibly reach compliance. He elected to pay a required penalty on his gross income from all his Medicare patients who represent 50 percent of his entire patient enrollment. As the country’s population ages, doctors who chose to pay penalties will see their incomes shrink even more.

The problems are not just with small medical practices. A major medical clinic with multiple locations I treated at the past year is struggling with incorporating all the many new procedures required. The physicians are very resentful of the time required to feed all the data into computers thus reducing time with patient care.

One benefit, the availability of patient records to patients able to navigate around the patient portals as they are called, has been an asset. However, when I asked my doctors if they would be able to check my medical history and test results on the site, they said only if the data was in their medical network.

The jury is definitely still out on how “The Affordable Care Act” is actually working. With a new Congress and election year coming up soon the efforts to amend or repeal it will heat up.

As for Obama’s promises when the plan was first introduced: presidential promises have been made by every president we have ever elected, but few were able to override both parties to get those promises to reality.

As I see it, we can only hope someone in government remembers, we the people, elected them.




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