New Jersey —
In 2009, physicians in Ontario spent $22,205 on administrative costs per physician per year, while US physicians spent a staggering $82,975 each trying to get insurance companies to pay them. U.S. nursing staff, including medical assistants, spent 20.6 hours per physician, per week, interacting with health plans, nearly 10 times that of their Ontario counterparts. Many health policy makers conclude that a centralized system would be more efficient. But would that be better for patients?
Section 1104 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to figure out ways to simplify interactions between providers and health plans. Instead of private practices, the reform bill supports new groupings of physicians in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
In a bureaucrat’s heaven, ObamaCare will centralize payments to ACOs where care would be controlled and physicians compensated according to strict government guidelines, including dollars saved by giving less care. Patients would be expected to do what they’re told.
If physicians were farmers and patients were livestock, this might be feasible, but setting up an efficient assembly line system is not the way to provide compassionate, individualized high quality medical care.
As a matter of fact, even farmers and livestock did not do well with central planning of the collective farms that existed in the early 20th century in the Soviet Union. These were farms or groups of farms organized as a unit and managed and worked cooperatively by a group of laborers under State supervision. Private ownership of farms was no longer allowed and they were confiscated by the State.
The State promised to collect the meat and produce and distribute it fairly. But this did not happen and peasants, those who worked the hardest, lamented that they were not getting their fair share. When they revolted, their non-compliance was met with harsh retaliation, and life was reduced to stark subsistence.