As the facts of the Affordable Care Act unfold, it is becoming clearer every day that the legislation that created it is abominable. It is easy to blame President Obama for that, but Congress had its hand in it, as well. A law that was supposed to help the American people, and solve a significant problem, is turning out to be a catastrophe.
Predictions of job losses — from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — say that the equivalent of some 800,000 workers will leave the workforce in order to qualify for medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but it is merely another problem with the law that could have been avoided. The Act reportedly is some 20,000 pages, which is ridiculous.
And it will have other unintended consequences that will make people staying home from work seem to be no problem. Some of those consequences will be suffered directly by doctors and their patients.
I talked to a Madera doctor this week who said he and his partners had made the decision to accept no new Affordable Care Act patients. The reason: Remuneration for services is too low, and the required paperwork is overwhelming, and will raise costs that the insurers never will cover. His practice would have to hire people just to keep up with reporting requirements. He said he knew other doctors who had made the same decision.
If that becomes the general case, ACA-insured patients will be forced to go to overburdened hospital emergency rooms for care — which is one of the things the ACA had been written to avoid.
Legislation which was meant to save money and help poor people receive medical care very likely will cause higher costs and do the poor no favors.
Perhaps it all will work out, but at this point it doesn’t look like that will be the case any time soon.