America’s Healthcare Crisis
Even with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the two primary challenges of healthcare reform persist:
- The skyrocketing cost of healthcare continues unabated.
- In spite of the extraordinary cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), many Americans remain at risk of losing access to their physician.
- To reduce spending without providing coverage for the uninsured leaves the crisis unresolved.
- To cover some of the uninsured through uncontrolled federal spending greatly exacerbates the national debt.
Sadly, the PPACA greatly exacerbates out-of-control government spending while putting access to care for seniors in jeopardy.
- Total U.S debt now exceeds $15 trillion.
- The PPACA will not “reduce the deficit,” it will add an estimated $2.3 trillion of federal spending.*
- Not only did the PPACA cut Medicare by $575 billion, it needed to cut physician Medicare reimbursement by another $278 billion in order to “reduce the deficit.” As a result, seniors will struggle to find a physician.
- Half of the people who gained insurance through the PPACA were placed on Medicaid. For many states this means the size of their Medicaid programs will increase by 50 percent.
- Medicaid already consumes most state budgets and crowds out spending on other priorities such as education and transportation.
- Even before this expansion of Medicaid, the program was so underfunded patients on Medicaid struggled to find a physician.
- The Government Accountability Office recently reported that children on Medicaid have worse access to physicians than children with no insurance at all.** This makes a sad commentary given Americans spent $427 billion on the program in 2010.***
There must be a better way.
The Fundamental Question
There are only two ways to control costs. Either patients, physicians, nurses, hospitals, and the business community work together to use healthcare dollars more efficiently, or the government will restrict access to care. History teaches us there is no third option.
In considering healthcare reform we must begin with one fundamental question. Who should control the personal and complex process of healthcare decision-making? You and your physician? Or Washington? All reforms fall into one category or the other.
Physicians for Reform strongly believes patients and physicians should remain at the center of American medicine. This is only possible when patients control their own healthcare dollars, not the government.
* Paul Ryan, Wall Street Journal, Opinion, “Dissecting the Real Cost of Obamacare,” March 4, 2010.
**U.S. Government Accountability Office,
“MEDICAID AND CHIP: MOST PHYSICIANS SERVE COVERED CHILDREN BUT HAVE DIFFICULTY REFERRING THEM FOR SPECIALTY CARE,”
GAO-11-624 June 30, 2011.
***CENTER FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES, “NATIONAL HEALTH EXPENDITURE PROJECTIONS 2009 – 2019,” SEPTEMBER, 2010.