Some Thoughts on ObamaCare

On July 7, 2010, Barack Obama  appointed Dr. Donald Berwick to serve as the Administrator of CMS through a recess appointment. Eighteen months later, Berwick resigned for political reasons in view of the upcoming presidential election. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Berwick]

In a speech to British physicians July 1, 2008, titled “A Transatlantic Review of the NHS at 60,” Berwick opened with these remarks:

“Let me begin with thanks – twice. First, thanks for letting me work with you for almost 15 years; this has been one of the most satisfying journeys of my entire career. My colleagues in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement feel the same. Second, thanks for what the NHS does as an example for health care worldwide.

If you’re a cynic, you’ll want to go get a cup of tea about now. I am going to annoy you, because I am not a cynic. I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.”

Four years later in the NHS, look at these headlines:

Investigator who uncovered Stafford deaths warns: the next NHS scandal will be missed.”
“, , , 400 and 1,200 “excess deaths” in three years, amid unacceptable failings in basic care, with decisions about who to treat left to receptionists, and patients left in soiled bedding.”

Romanian nurses shocked by Britain’s care of the elderly.”
“Dr Peter Carter said nurses who had trained in Eastern Europe were “astonished” by the priority the NHS places on paperwork, and by the number of elderly patients admitted to hospitals suffering from bedsores – which had gone unnoticed either by their families or by staff in care homes.”

Stafford Hospital scandal betrayed the NHS says health secretary.”

“James Paget, East Surrey, Romford, Morecambe Bay and of course Stafford Hospital are amongst the many NHS institutions where people have reported failings in care in recent years that are simply not worthy of a civilised country.”

Targets and jargon ‘prevent gneration of nurses stopping abuse.‘”

“A fixation with business jargon and targets rather than basic morality has created a generation of nurses, social workers and carers almost incapable of stopping abuse, an expert overhauling their training has warned.”

The tablets that do more harm than good.”

“As scores of letters and emails from our readers have shown, GPs are increasingly prescribing older people a cocktail of drugs that they do not need.”

Then ask yourself: How long before these kinds of horrors are repeated under ObamaCare in the U.S.?

Oscar Wilde said, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” We wanted better health care. We didn’t know how to get it. So we let the socialist/marxists leading the country give us ObamaCare. Wilde should have had a third alternative tragedy–getting the worst of all possible futures through deluded choices!

Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You

According to an article on CNN.com, “Is Your Hospital Hurting You”  by Dr. Marty Makary (a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital), “doctors and nurses increasingly feel disconnected from policymakers and even their own hospitals.” One indicator is the number of doctors and nurses fired or disciplined who speak up about problems in hospitals like dangerous care or fraudulent procedures. 

Examples include a cardiologist who provided data showing cardiologists at her hospital “misread a substantial number of heart tests.” In another case, a nurse was discharged after complaining about a doctor doing cardiac procedures that were unnecessary.

Makary sees this as do a growing number of physicians as a consequence of the growing practice of worker-management disconnect, particularly as hospitals merge into larger and larger conglomerates–mega-hospitals. I call it assembly-line medicine. From personal experience, hospitals are run not for the benefit of the patients, but for the benefit of the organization, attempting the largest degree of standardization to minimize cost and inconvenience. Makary continues by pointing to the economic incentives and poor accountability in the present system.

The puzzling thing, pointed out in this article, is that in 2009 based on a poll, 77 percent of Americans report being satisfied with health care in this country. Yet a New England Journal of Medicine study found 18 percent of patients “were actually harmed by medical care.” Perhaps these are among the 23 percent not satisfied in the other study? I

In the U.S., surgeons make mistakes like performing an operation on the wrong patient or leaving something inside the patient 4,000 times a year or more. Six percent of these patients died and 32.9 percent had permanent injury. This information came from data in the National Practitioner Data Bank, brought out by Marty Makary. Yet as Makary points out, these numbers are probably underestimated because many patients never file claims. Either this, or worse, the mistakes are covered up or not followed up.

These findings are analogous to the British people’s belief in the excellence of their medical system despite almost daily reports of atrocious care.

To take a few examples of this, The Telegraph, in “Targets and jargon ‘prevent generation of nurses stopping abuse,'” wrote, “A fixation with business jargon and targets rather than basic morality has created a generation of nurses, social workers and carers almost incapable of stopping abuse, an expert overhauling their training has warned.”

In another article, Revealed: 3 in 4 of Britain’s danger doctors are trained abroad,” The Telegraph noted, “The vast majority of doctors who have been struck off in the past five years were trained abroad, new figures from the General Medical Council show.”

Now, consider how bad the situation is now in the U.S. and that ObamaCare was modeled on the British National Health Service.

Can you realistically see things getting better as ObamaCare takes full effect?