Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?

Intimately Connected

Intimately Connected

What you call it implies what you think of it.

Regardless, I do not think it is the ACA-polypse some doctors are making it out to be.

Those that call it Obamacare worry about cost and overflow and government intervention. They say things like “If I wanted socialized medicine, I would live in Canada!”

The ones that call it the ACA, are thankful that finally “EVERYONE will have health insurance!” Or, “Finally, doctors will be paid on their quality of the quantity of patients they see.”

My opinion in 10 statements:

1. Our health care system is a mess.

2. I love what I do. I am sick of “physician advocates” telling me to secure “an alternate career path just in case.” Just in case what? We wake up on Jan 1, 2014 and disease is abolished and all doctors can go on to make homemade wine or take up logging?

3. It is ridiculous that depending on the hospital you go to, your colonoscopy could cost $6000 or $25,000.

4. It is shameful that any patients in this great country have to choose between their medications or their food.

5. I would love to be paid based on the quality of my patient’s health…as long as my patients are paid to actively participate in their health.

6. No health care law is going to make doctors better communicators. We don’t need a law, we need education from the earliest days in medical school.

7. It is not a patient’s fault they got cancer. Just when they need their insurance most, how can we turn them away because they are a “cost liability?”

8. I want to practice good medicine without fear of a law suit–which of the above addresses that?

9. Is 26 too old to be on your parent’s insurance? I don’t know. When I was in med school I had no money and no insurance. Thank God I was healthy. Why does our government decide that at all? How about I, the payer, decide how long my kids stay on my insurance? Kind of like I decide when they are kicked out of my house.

10. I don’t really know what a “death panel” is. It sounds scary but is that just Obamacarian for the ACArian phrase: “end of life/palliative care specialists?”

If you are reading my post trying to figure out which side I am on, I will save you the trouble: I want to keep doing the job I was born to do. I want to have more freedom to order the tests and treatments I know will be effective. I don’t really care what formula is used to determine my pay schedule–as long as it is fair. I would rather see a 26 year old on his parents insurance than dead in a ditch because he couldn’t afford to see a doctor. Lastly, I don’t want to hire more people, spend more money on my overhead expenses, or pay more in taxes.

Easy right?

Of course not. However, speaking two different languages as loudly as we can at each other is not the answer.


  1. Don’t hold back Christine tell us how u really feel lol Because more people then u think feel the same way, but to here the government tell it ever 1 wants it ( well the left side of the room does anyway) Me I just want a Dr that cares!!!! OOOOOO wait I have 1. YOU!!!!!

  2. Marilyn Clarke says:

    Wow I am starting off my day with “amazing” you!!!!

  3. We used to go to the Dr when necessary. Now, with a $4000 deductible and cost of insurnace up over $100 a month, we pick and choose. If I have health insurance, I shouldn’t have to worry and call around to see if I can afford to get a test or see the Dr. I don’t know if it is obamacare or not, but it is not affordable.

    • So right Diane– who cares whose side you are on–it is unsustainable. Just not sure if this will make it better–time to tell. Thanks so much for taking the time to join the conversation!

  4. The bottom line for me Is the issue of “control by whom”? If the individual cannot make their own choices in healthcare and decide who, what, and how much, and it is placed into the hands of the government, then we are drifting into very dangerous waters.
    Just reminds yourselves how well the US Postal Service, the DEA, the EPA, the Dept. of Education, or, THE IRS is handling their affairs, and wasting the hard-earned taxpayers dollars.
    Healthcare coverage is NOT a right; it is not without cost.

  5. Janet M Heinis says:

    As someone who has to have a colonscopy each year I can tell you that at one facility my 10% co pay is $975 and at another it is $187.00 and both are local facilities.

    I also faced a nurse at one of my treatment centers,( when I was undergoing chemotherapy and was there on an emergency because I had a problem with my port and had to come in to the office with an emergency before hours told me) that “it wasn’t their fault that I had cancer.” Something serious needs to be done to our healthcare system and within that education that we are giving our medical professionals. Keep writing about this because people need to realize that we need a complete overhaul of our healthcare system and while not everyone agrees this has been long coming.

    President Nixon along with Senator Kennedy tried to do exactly what we are going to see in 2014 to no avail and it took all these year to finally get this country to wake up and see we need this change! Thank you!

  6. Thank you Doctor for being a non-political thinker over a complex issue. I do wish “Nancy” would wake up and realize that she will continue to be able to purchase insurance anywhere she would like..the post office is not run by the government…the 1000+ people in Pa. who can no longer drink their water WISH the EPA was there…and EVERYONE knows that it costs to have healthcare coverage. And why oh why are you so happy that your insurance company tells you “who, what, and how much?”

    • Florence apparently exists in a bubble and doesn’t know that health insurance providers vary greatly from state to state and is non transferable over state lines. Also, depending upon preexisting medical conditions, you may never be able to afford the level of coverage needed.; what if you have MS, cancer, or need an organ transplant? I have worked full time in the healthcare field since 1980, so I have SEEN FOR MYSELF what’s happening. How many “undocumented workers (?)”are you more than happy to cover out of your pocket, Florence?

      • Florence and Nancy
        Thank you so much for weighing in. Clearly this is such a heated issue for all involved. We can all agree on a few facts though. First, the system we have has many flaws. Second, health care reform–Obama’s or someone else’s–is the reality –if not now sometime very soon. We need to keep having these conversations but include those voices that matter: doctors, pharmacists, and patients.

        Thank you ladies for the conversation–as uncomfortable as it can be.

  7. Marlene says:

    I agree with a lot of what you said Dr. Meyer. I am a recipient of Medicare and am thankful that I qualify for it. Without it I would be up a creek without a paddle so to speak. However, because I am on Medicare the products that I qualify for within the healthcare system are limited. Certain injections and treatments are not covered at all or are so minimally covered that providers can not afford to offer the service or product to me. This is especially glaring in the prescription medicine area. So called coupons offered by the pharmaceutical companies for their product are not available to those of us on Medicare or to people in receipt of Medicaid. As a result we are faced with the choice of trying to pay an exorbitant cost for the medicine (one of my medications was offered to me at the cost of $852 for a 30 day supply), doing without the medicine and suffering the consequences, going back to the doctor who prescribed the medicine to request trying another similar medication that “may” be less costly, or adding the cost of the medication to my charge card which is already stretched because of other medications or normal bills. The “donut hole” of Medicaid is made to sound like something yummy – it is far from that. Last year when I went into the “donut hole” in April I was faced with trying to juggle my medication costs for the remainder of the year. When presented with one prescriptions cost of $1,069 for a 30 day supply I was reduced to tears. What did I do – I went without the medicine in the time table prescribed and did my best to stretch what I had left in my medicine cabinet. This meant that I had further complications because I did not take my medicine as prescribed. I never told anyone about doing without my medicine until now. I don’t know what the answer is to our health care system mess. All I know is that doctors and patients should not have to try so hard to juggle things around to get the care needed. When are our politicians along both sides of the isle going to “play nice”? Shame on both parties and their inaction. They should be made to be in the same boat as such a large number of Americans. Perhaps if they felt the frustration, the fear and the pain of such a broken system – then they would act in a responsible way to truly help us. What has happened to a sense of integrity and honesty and fair-play in America? I truly feel bad for doctors and other patients who are left trying to find a way in this darkness. Let’s speak up to our leaders and let’s keep each other in prayer.

  8. Thanks for such a personal and intimate response Marlene. I know that was not easy for you. So well said and timely though.

  9. Nancy, please review the components of the ACA…those which are already in effect and those to be implemented in 2014 and beyond.

    Pre-existing conditions will no longer be a factor in coverage availability or cost; each state must offer a minimum of five levels of coverage, with a range of costs; there is no longer a maximum lifetime benefit, etc.

    Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the ACA is that, for patients at least, it addresses health care insurance and coverage….not medical care or practices.

  10. Good post. As a insurance broker I see daily both sides of this. Insurance companies denying coverage based on conditions the patient never asked for no matter how healthy their lifestyle and insurance companies that would yes go out of business if forced to cover everyone without a solution. The problem was the RX to that solution and anytime you have a Fed govt and 50 different states arguing it’s just gridlock as usual. Long before Obamacare came to be, insurance companies asked us and other agents for solutions. We said, yes you need to cover pre-x conditions and drugs. The free preventive check up we all now get with newer plans is nice but take the savings and stabilize premiums we said. We also chimed in on the same take you have on the age 26 issue. Even with all that, the premiums would double if not triple forcing more to drop coverage. Our solutions as an office was simple. 1) crack down hard on medical malpractice abuse forcing hospitals and Dr’s from paying outrageous premiums and ordering tests that may not be necessary solely to cover their ass. This heavily impacts premiums. Yes, my family is friends with the Biden’s and when I last spoke to Joe on phone last I gave up suggestions and Joe being Joe changed the subject. Isn’t ironic in all this healthcare debate nobody speaks of malpractice reform? Then again trial attorneys are big lobbyists for the donkey party so that explains.
    2) So how do we pay to get premiums affordable to cover all this? Simple and we figured a national flat sales tax applying to everyone purchasing anything including corporations in the US to be 2.5% to help stabilize the system. Of course that would have been too easy so of course that wasn’t even considered.

    I have lots of friends in Holland and Germany and visit often. They pay more in tax but they have a far better quality of life and a far superior medical system than we do in the States. The phrases people throw out that we are the greatest and most superior nation on earth must not have left the country over the last 10-15 years.

    No wonder congress and the President have low approval ratings. Hopefully it all changes with leadership but until then ill keep helping our clients the best we can with what we are given.

  11. Rosemary Donnelly Foley says:

    Great post.

    The often heard argument that the health care law will force a third party betwen me and my doctor is absurd. The insurance company has always been the one who makes the decisions on what healthcare I ultimately receive.
    And anyone who says that government bureaucracy will be a
    nightmare has obviously never spent hours on the phone with an insurance company trying to get information.

    Agree with all your points, Dr. Meyer.
    Especially #3- also worth mentioning that the uninsured get billed more for procedures than the insured do. How is that rational?

    There are too many unknowns about the details of the law- we all need to take a breath and educate ourselves.
    “Death panels” is a great example of hyperbole vs fact.

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