Healthcare absent under ObamaCare?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

One physician wonders if any doctors will be practicing once ObamaCare is fully implemented, and he continues to question the quality of care patients will receive.

Smith, Dr. Keith (Oklahoma)In an effort to provide comprehensive healthcare reform, Dr. G. Keith Smith, an Oklahoma-based board-certified anesthesiologist, says officials have failed to recognize human behavior. Lawmakers assume that doctors will continue to work under ObamaCare, even if they are being paid less for their services.

"Whatever the exchange is between the patient and the physician, if it's not financially mutually beneficial, then that exchange tends to not occur," he notes.

Dr. Smith explains that when Medicare first started, doctors charged whatever amount they wanted, and as a result, more services were provided. But under ObamaCare, physicians will essentially be demanded by the government to work.

"If the physicians are not willing to see the patients because of price controls, which are built into this bill, there will be people in the streets waving their ObamaCare cards around demanding care in front of a vacant physician's office," the anesthesiologist poses. "Or worse -- a physician who is in his office who just doesn't see how financially it makes sense for him to see patients."

Smith recalls working with an Argentinian hand surgeon who abandoned his practice when the country implemented its own version of ObamaCare. That surgeon eventually began waiting tables because it provided a better income than his previous career.

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120512In California's case, Dr. Smith says state Democrats are beginning to realize that shifting children from a state-run healthcare program to California's version of Medicaid may actually prevent people from getting care. He warned OneNewsNow last month that Medicaid cards will give holders trouble accessing healthcare.

The state had planned to transfer nearly 900,000 children from the Healthy Families program to Medi-Cal on January 1 as part of the budget passed by Governor Jerry Brown in order to save California more money. But Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) now says there are too many issues in The Golden State's plan to make the transfer.

"I think it's a huge mistake on the part of California to take this on," Dr. Smith submits. "The whole idea that this is somehow compassionate to expand Medicaid -- that completely falls apart when you look through and you see behind the curtain, which is the fact that some of the Democrat legislators there are beginning to wonder, Does this Medicaid card that belongs to this child now, does it actually prevent them from getting care?"

Medi-Cal reimburses doctors at a lower amount, so Steinberg claims children would lose "health, dental and mental healthcare coverage and access to critical services." He adds that the problems with the shift would be a "negative public perception" of California's ability to implement healthcare reform.

Both Democrats and Republicans initially refused removing the Healthy Families program.

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