Just about every Republican politician and media source have been obsessed with the “failing grade” given to Obamacare. They hardly ever quote the source, and they never look into the motive.
This “failing grade” comes from a poll of 20,000 doctors. Even if that little tidbit does come up, the details of the poll are usually in fine print, or not mentioned at all. “Failing Grade,” “Obamacare,” and “Repeal” are all the modern conservative needs to share a story on social media, spreading a headline rather than the truth.
Here are some facts about the poll Republicans seem to forget:
- Less than half of those polled gave the law a failing grade of D or F. In fact, the numbers seem to correspond with the numbers of people who identify themselves as Democrats versus those who say they’re Republicans. Imagine That.
- The Poll notes that younger doctors, particularly females, are positive about the direction of health care in America, while older, male doctors are pessimistic and fast-tracking to retirement. Here’s something we’re seeing in every facet of American life. As the boy’s clubs get older and retire, a progressive younger generation is poised to take its place and move our country forward.
- Primary Care Physicians are in favor of the law far more than specialists. PCPs are seeing their patients more often, insurance companies aren’t routinely denying preventive medicine and testing to keep costs low, and people in America have a real chance of getting healthier. That alone decreases the referrals to more expensive, less personal specialists who depend on out of control illness and surprise diagnoses for their bottom line.
- Many doctors view Medicaid as inferior. The number of people qualifying for Medicaid who left private insurance companies is a concern for doctors who are accustomed to getting paid more from those companies than Medicaid. Medicaid isn’t healthcare, its how healthcare professionals get paid. Medicaid conforms to the law, meaning the quality of care can not be lower than that of plans offered by private companies.
To break this poll down, old men who place money higher on their list of priorities than human beings, don’t like Obamacare.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer wrote an op-ed piece for the conservative rag The Hill last October that puts that position in perfect perspective. Forgetting that the ACA is healthcare law and not healthcare, Singer wrote:
Obamacare’s assault on the doctor-patient relationship first manifested this time last year, when my patients began receiving cancellation letters indicating that their plans didn’t meet the law’s minimum requirements.
The plans that were cancelled didn’t meet the law’s requirements because they were bare-boned disaster relief only, with ridiculously high out-of-pocket expenses. Private citizens pay full price for those expenses, while insurance companies and Medicaid get a massive discount. The doctor’s rhetoric that this somehow “assaulted” his relationship with his patients is explained further:
Some of my patients were transferred to plans that did not include me in the physician network. In some cases this meant they had to find another surgeon to assume care while they were recovering from the first stage of a multistage surgical course. Others were enrolled in one of the Medicaid plans in which I participate. These plans make it difficult for me to coordinate with other specialists when treating cancer and other complex surgical patients because of the scarcity and distance of other specialists in the plan. And some could only afford plans that significantly limited their health care options.
This entire statement amounts to a giant load of bullhonkey. Again, any plan that didn’t meet the law’s criteria was inferior in nature and far too expensive for most people to afford. When the Medicaid expansion took effect, doctor pay increased to the same level as Medicare for the program, so more doctors started accepting it.
The notion that removing a surgeon, known for their impersonal nature and God complexes, from a patient’s care would infringe on the doctor-patient relationship is nothing but pure greed. The bulk of surgeons operate out of medical facilities. Just how far in a hospital does someone have to go to find a specialist?
The doctor may have meant that it was difficult to coordinate with other greedy doctors who liked things the way they were, with healthcare costs increasing at three times the rate of income.
Not that any of that matters to the GOP or its base of ignorance. All they need to hear is “Obamacare” and “failing grade” together in a sentence and they get the chance to add “repeal” and sell it. It wouldn’t matter if two doctors said it while 98 disagreed. Or have we learned nothing from the climate change discussion?
Featured Image: Charles Topher