Everything that has happened with ObamaCare since its implementation has been a good thing because we can now stop pretending that the courts or Congress will help us. If we want to take our profession back, we have to do it ourselves. It has been way past time to shift the paradigm back to the doctor and by extension our relationship with our patients. We have been on the wrong track for many years: when we joined insurance panels; when we signed their contracts without reading them; when we added physician extenders to increase the patient volume in order stay open; when we sold our practices to the hospital in order to navigate the financial onslaught; when we let patients dictate the standard of care by requesting treatment by phone and prescriptions for the newest medication seen on TV; when we let fear control us; and when we lost our sense of value and purpose with the accompanying loss of joy, our profession was ripe for the picking.
We certainly played the game and did everything that was asked of us. Now we are being asked to become agents of the government, to give up our Hippocratic Oath and to work against the interests of our patients. We are being asked by our specialty boards which are supposed to represent us to acquiesce to the power of their cartel. We are also being asked to give up our independent streak. The spark that made us want to become doctors, to be leaders who are unafraid to do the right thing for our patient because we have worked hard to understand what needs to be done to heal them. We are also being asked to become members of the healthcare ‘team’ to move to the background and have some centralized algorithm do the thinking for us.
It stops when we move away from this system that works against the interest of the doctor and patient relationship and when we stop being the grist for this healthcare mill. The truth is the healthcare system cannot run without us. We have a great deal of power – why don’t we just take it back. Obamacare has damaged the healthcare system to such an extent that the patients are now ready to find doctors who practice medicine with empathy, compassion and competence. The amazing thing is that this is a more efficient and effective style of medicine. Our challenge is only to let patients know that we are here and how to find us.
When patients understand that there is now a two tiered system of medicine. One driven by centralized, population based medicine underpinned by evidence based decisions that rest on the cost controlled good of the many vs individualized patient care based on the art and the science of medicine underpinned by health and wellness, they will choose us. That will be the beginning of the end of Obamacare. If we build it and let the patients know, they will come.