Health Withers As Bureaucracy Devours Physicians’ Working Hours
The passage of the Affordable Care Act did not represent the death of free market healthcare in America. I was just the last nail in the coffin.
Health care services and their consumers have been hurting ever since the United States government initiated its policy of industry regulation. With the inclusion of so many requirements and mandates, the common physician saw his options vanish. And as a result, the cost of having access to skilled physicians shoot up. Seeing the crisis this vicious cycle created, lawmakers saw yet another opportunity to act, passing a cluster of laws designed to fight “abuse” called The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare.
The goal behind ACA may have been to protect the consumer from unfair costs, but the result is nothing short of disappointing. Instead of keeping the cost of health care low, Obamacare artificially increased the cost of doing business to the insurance and healthcare industries.
What’s worse, ACA lowered standards of care as a result.
As physicians find themselves buried in paperwork, they lack the time to dedicate to their craft. Who suffers? The patient.
According to a study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine (https://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2546704), doctors spend two additional hours on paperwork for every patient they see.
While this is certainly one of the few studies into the subject, it isn’t the first time physicians noticed a problem with the increasing bureaucracy associated with practicing medicine.
In 2005, Hames Sanders, MD wrote that, “As physicians, we are inundated with paperwork in every area of medical practice.”
Due to the time spent on bureaucracy, Sanders continued, the “time and money we desperately need for patient care” is gone. And while physicians “moan and groan about federal and state regulations that are responsible for much of our paperwork burden,” Sanders accused he and his colleagues of having “succumbed to a system that produces more.”
Despite some of their best efforts, things have only gone worse, with physicians now spending 49.2 percent of their time outside of the examination room, and 37 percent of their time in the room with the patient doing paperwork.
With President-elect Donald Trump and his administration showing signs they may not put an end to the Affordable Care Act, we might have to continue experiencing the same problems for 4 more years.