This writer s very fortunate to be friends with three of the most successful and beautiful fitness trainers in the world, Lori Hendry (pic), Christine Lakatos (pic), and Erin Morgart (pic). They are all brilliant, traditional in their point of view and influential in political circles.
Morgart is a model and the reigning Ms. United Nations USA, as well as Mrs. Galaxy Virginia International 2012. She is also a certified trainer who was voted one of the top 10 fitness trainers by FitTV.
It’s the time of the year when people have made New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. What can people do to stick to their goals?
For people not to get discouraged, having an accountability workout partner is key. That way you can stay on track and keep each other in check. I have several clients who meet with me once a week, and that’s just to do vitals, blood pressure, weight and body fat. You have to look at it as a lifestyle change. It’s not the next four months or six months, but a new way of living. It’s eating to live and not living to eat. Find a group and find that support system that will help them in check.
Is there a trick for people who want to know what kind of workout can help them achieve their goals?
It helps to find someone that you want to look like, you ask them what they’re doing and where they’re doing it. … You find that out and you emulate what they do.
How important is it for people to have a healthy lifestyle from a young age?
When I was in Hawaii, I also worked with a lot of young people and pediatricians. They had kids that had been prescreneed for diabetes, and the biggest thing I heard from parents was “I don’t have time for this.” It starts with the parents and the families. They need to break bad behaviors and join the YMCA, and then it becomes a family thing.
No matter what the tax is, it is sold to help fund “the children”, “the sick”, “the disabled”…. and what kind of sick greedy capitalist bastard are YOU to oppose it!! YOU HATE CHILDREN!!
The good ole “bait and switch” is almost the oldest trick in the book, and is used by the left as a matter of routine.
[Editor’s Note: For more on how the Proposition 63 Tax was a failure and how the resources were misused and eventually misappropriated to pet projects click HERE.]
Mercury News – Prop 63 hasn’t solved California’s mental health care crisis:
If President Barack Obama wants a model for solving the nation’s mental health care crisis, he needs to find a better one than California.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg urged Obama to adopt California’s Proposition 63 as the nation’s model following the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., which raised awareness of mental health as well as gun control issues. Steinberg has asked Obama to consider matching dollar for dollar the money that states put into their mental health programs.
Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2004, was sponsored by Steinberg. It has, indeed, been good at raising money. The 1 percent tax on millionaires’ incomes has netted more than $8 billion over eight years.
But what does California have to show for it? Fewer psychiatric hospital beds, fewer doctors treating patients and fewer clinics across the state. An estimated 750,000 California adults failed to receive mental health treatment they needed last year.
And if California is making any progress in reducing the use of its jails and prisons to warehouse the mentally ill, it’s news to us. About half of the counties in the state have no inpatient psychiatric services.
The formula for distributing Proposition 63 money allocates significant amounts to counties for new programs for new patients rather than older but still-needed programs for longtime patients. And last year’s budget cuts made matters worse. While Proposition 63 raised $1 billion in dedicated funding, the Legislature took $798 million of nonrestricted money away from other mental health programs.
The result is a two-tier system in which a wave of new programs is flush with cash while long-standing programs serving the vast majority of patients are crunched for money.
“If we could fund the programs we need, we could greatly reduce the number of people in our jails and prisons,” says Jessica Cruz, executive director of California’s branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who supports the Proposition 63 programs but thinks more money is needed for others. “We could help reduce the number of mentally ill crowding our hospital emergency rooms and the homeless wandering our streets.”
A Department of Justice study found that 56 percent of state prisoners and 64 percent of local jail inmates have symptoms of serious mental illnesses. And 75 percent of those inmates received no treatment while incarcerated. Three out of every four people with serious mental illnesses can be successfully treated for a fraction of the annual cost of $47,102 of housing an inmate in California’s prisons.
Cruz notes that only 2 percent of mentally ill people are violent. If California could reach them before their problems manifest themselves in horrific fashion, we could make communities safer, save taxpayers money any improve the lives of thousands who now have nowhere to turn for help.
[Editor’s Note: D. J. Jaffe maintains a list of links and information about mental health policy. His work is a must read for anyone interested in public safety.]
President Obama said the federal government has to do something meaningful to prevent future shootings, like the recent massacre of 26 children and adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Here is what the federal government can do to prevent violence related to mental illness:
2. Write exceptions into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so parents of mentally ill children can get access to medical records and receive information from their children’s doctors on what is wrong and what the children need. Right now, for reasons of “confidentiality,’ doctors won’t tell parents what is wrong with their kids or what treatment they need, even as they require parents to provide the care. As a result, when a child goes off treatment, the parents’ hands are tied. They have all the responsibility to see the person is cared for, but none of the information or authority to see it happens. We have to change the patient confidentiality laws so parents can help prevent tragedies rather than become a punching bag for the public when something horrific happens.
3. End the Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion in Medicaid law. This provision tells states: “If you kick someone out of the hospital, we will pay you 50% of the community care costs.” This causes states to lock the front door of hospitals and open the back door, regardless of whether the community is an appropriate setting. If you have a disease in any organ of your body, other than the brain, and need long-term hospital care, Medicaid pays. Failing to pay when the illness is in the brain is federal discrimination against persons with mental illness. I wrote on Medicaid discrimination for the mass market in the Washington Post, but John Edwards wrote a more scholarly paper on ending the IMD Exclusion. Relatedly, a proposal made by former vice-presidential candidate Ryan, under which Medicaid was block-granted could solve this problem.
4. Create a federal definition of serious mental illness, and require that the vast majority of mental-health funding go to it. Due to mission creep and the tendency to diagnose normal reactions of people as a mental “health” issue, government agencies now claim that 40 percent or more of Americans have a mental ‘health’ issue. Worst, most mental “health” funding currently goes to this group of the highest functioning. But only 5 to 9 percent of Americans have a serious mental illness. That’s where we should be spending our money — on the 5 to 9 percent who are most likely to become violent and need help, not the worried well. There is more than enough money in the mental-health system to prevent Newtown-type incidents, provided it is spent on people who are truly ill, not the worried-well. I wrote on this for a mass market on Huffington Post, but a much more scholarly paper was written by Howard H. Goldman and Gerald N. Grob. With the fiscal cliff approaching, prioritizing the most seriously mentally ill for services is more important than ever.
5. Eliminate the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the epicenter of what is wrong with the American mental-health system. SAMHSA actively encourages states to engage in mission creep and send the most seriously ill to the end of the line. They provide massive funding to organizations that want to prevent mentally ill individuals from receiving treatment. They have nothing positive to show for their efforts in spite of a massive bureaucracy that meets and meets and meets and never accomplishes anything. I wrote on this for a mass market in the Washington Timesand Huffington Post. But Amanda Peters wrote a terrific scholarly piece on SAMHSA for a law journal.
If Obama is serious about wanting to do something, the steps above would be the best first step. True, the mental-health industry may throw a fit as they find themselves obligated to serve the most seriously ill, but it’s the right thing to do. Anything else could be deadly.
Here is what states should do.
States should make greater use of Assisted Outpatient Treatment, especially for those with a history of violence or incarceration. AOT allows courts to order certain mentally ill people to stay in treatment as a condition of living in the community. AOT works. New Yorkers remember Larry Hogue, the “Wild Man of 96th Street,” who kept getting hospitalized, going off meds, terrorizing neighbors, and going back into the hospital. Connecticut does NOT have an AOT law on the books (see these facts about the Connecticut mental-health system), and we can’t say for sure if it would have helped in this case, but all states should have one to prevent similar incidents.
• States should make sure their civil-commitment laws include all the following, not just “danger to self or others: (A) Is “gravely disabled”, which means that the person is substantially unable, except for reasons of indigence, to provide for any of his or her basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health or safety, or (B) is likely to “substantially deteriorate” if not provided with timely treatment, or (C) lacks capacity, which means that as a result of the brain disorder, the person is unable to fully understand or lacks judgment to make an informed decision regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.
• When the “dangerousness standard” is used, it must be interpreted more broadly than “imminently” and/or “provably” dangerous.
State laws should also allow for consideration of a patient’s record in making determinations about court-ordered treatment, since history is often a reliable way to anticipate the future course of illness. (Currently, it is like criminal procedures: what you did in the past presumably has no bearing, so the court may not know past history when deciding whether to commit someone. In fact, there are ways to know which mentally ill individuals become or are likely to become violent.)
Liberal activists stopped new laws in Connecticut that could have helped Adam Lanza get the mental help he needed…..
[Political Arena Editor’s Note: Before we get onto the the disturbing details, this very writer has a great deal of experience in helping treating a schizophrenic. I have pretty much seen it all. As well as read the articles, dealt with good doctors and as well as the bad ones who just “don’t get it”. I have dealt with the insurance issues, legal issues and the social issues of it. As much as any non MD can be I am an expert, and in fact, my understanding of schizophrenia exceeds most doctors simply because of my experience.
With that said, I was lucky in that most of the time mine wanted treatment because she was getting the “Clive Barker” treatment behind her eyes and that scared her. Some patients resist treatment and that is where the legal system must back parents up and must help the patient even if it is against their will. D.J. Jaffe has a GREAT editorial about changes in the law that can help such patients – LINK ]
There is little doubt that not only was Adam Lanza Autistic (Asperger’s syndrome – this disorder has no history of causing violence), but he was also suffered from extreme depression and/or schizophrenic disorder as he fits the profile like a glove.
What is schizophrenia?
It is not multiple personality disorder as is so often shown on television. Schizophrenia acts to change how your brain perceives what the five senses tell it. The signals to the brain intermix with the schizophrenic’s perception of reality, with ones own imagination, and even memories such as what one has seen in a movie.
What the schizophrenic sees, feels, and hears sometimes becomes a jumble. At other times one can hallucinate and/or hear voices. Those with schizophrenia have a hard time relating with others because they mispercieve the nonverbal cues that are so crucial in interpersonal communication. If the disorder is pronounced enough the direct verbal cues may also be mispercieved.
The mind tries to make order out of the chaos. The mind does not wish to accept that you are crazy so the schizophrenic invents these elaborate conspiracies to attempt to rationalize what they are going through. Since schizophrenia usually is accompanied with a cognitive skills disorder the conspiracies do not seem too outlandish to one so affected. During a psychotic episode the cognitive skills disorder causes the reasoning ability to be drastically impacted.
Most normal people can look at a problem of moderate complexity and come to the same conclusion. The schizophrenic will come to a different, completely irrational conclusion, and if you don’t agree with them YOU must be crazy, because to them it is so obvious. For Example:
Three plus seven is 18 and I can prove it by counting the clouds outside. If you can’t see that than you are either an effing idiot or a liar.
So, and think about this for a moment, for mentally ill people such as Jarrod Loughner who perpetrated the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona, in his schizophrenic mind he had to shoot Giffords and her party because reason demanded it.
In more severe cases the schizophrenic may hear voices, see people who aren’t there and have conversations with them that are as real to them as can be. For some schizophrenics the life they live behind their own eyes is like a Clive Barker horror movie that they can never escape from without treatment.
Those who get the right help can usually be treated with the proper medication. Those who do not usually try to self medicate with drugs or alcohol to try to cope.
To compound the problem, there are a great many family doctors who simply “don’t get” schizophrenia and I have personally encountered a staff psychiatrist at a hospital who could not comprehend the condition. Why? Largely because of “Normalcy Bias”. In a nutshell, those with “Normalcy Bias” apply their ability to reason to everyone else and assume that simply because the person with the bias can make out the situation with relative ease, that the schizophrenic patient must also, so therefore the patient is just lying, or acting out for attention etc. They will ask things like, “Well if you heard things then how come you don’t now” and “you are all better now you faker?” Those with schizophrenia and associated conditions have episodes where the problem is much worse, and much better. Stress can bring about a psychotic episode even over the effects of medication.
As in the case of Jarrod Loughner, the signs were there, lots of people including parents, teachers, administrators and even police saw them and yet, no one took the appropriate action.
The UK Daily Mail published a quite complete bio of Adam Lanza that shows that he fit the profile of someone with a schizophrenic or similar disorder. Here are excerpts:
Crazed killer Adam Lanza was a ‘ticking time bomb’ who suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and was painfully shy and awkward, former classmates said yesterday.
Last night, a troubling portrait began to emerge of the ‘Goth’ loner, who dressed all in black and was obsessed with video games.
Goth like “death music” with theses about rejection, suicide, and the horrors of the world seem appealing to schizophrenics as in some ways it is how they perceive their own world. Some video games are popular with schizophrenics because in them they can have some control over their reality and create dramatic scenarios , again, in which unlike in the real world, they have some control.
Others say Lanza used to be a mild-mannered student in high school, making the honor roll, and living with his mother, Nancy Lanza, who in turn loved playing dice games and decorating their upscale home for the holidays.
‘No one is surprised. He always seemed like he was someone who was capable of that because he didn’t really connect with our high school, with our town.’
Another former school friend, Jamie Crespo, 19, said: ‘He used to hang with the freaks, guys who dressed in trench coats.’
Other students remember him walking through school dressed in black, carrying a black briefcase.
Family friends said Lanza’s problems started to escalate when his parents divorced in 2008 after 18 years together.
His father Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1 million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’.
One of Lanza’s former classmates spoke of his ‘noticeable decline’ after his parents’ divorce. ‘He was a loner at school and hyper intelligent,’ he said. ‘But in recent years he disappeared off the radar.
‘The word is that he was badly affected when his parents split and that might be what pushed him over the edge.’
‘He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.’
In several press accounts, Adam Lanza went from a typical Asperger’s kid, to a dark, more disturbed, more isolated troubled young man. This is typical of those with schizophrenia because it tends to manifest itself after puberty. Stress tends to bring on more psychotic events and makes the condition worse.
A relative to the family said that Adam Lanza was ‘obviously not well,’ adding that he often seemed troubled.
Lanza’s aunt, Marsha Lanza, said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.
Everyone hesitated including mom and dad. As is so often the case, parents and some relatives just won’t see it. Some are shamed into inaction, some are just too proud to admit that “their offspring is schizo” because of the stigma. Some are simply in denial. “Oh he just had a bad day”, “but he only does that sometimes”, “the stressful situation made him do it”, “no really he is better now (until the next psychotic episode)”, “but what can I do”, “it’s just kids being kids” and “every kid now a days acts strange”are typical rationalities.
How long did mom (who is now dead sadly) hesitate?
Less than a week before her son would launch his horrifying attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Nancy Lanza knew “she was losing him” and that “he was getting worse.”
A drinking buddy of Lanza told The Daily News that her son Adam had long been troubled and rarely came up in conversation.
“She just looked down at the glass and said, ‘I don’t know. I’m worried I’m losing him,’” said the bar pal, who did not wish to be named, of the ominous conversation at the bar My Place in Newtown, Conn.
“She said it was getting worse. She was having trouble reaching him.”
Adam, who the coroner’s office said Sunday shot Nancy Lanza, 54, several times in the head before unleashing a nightmarish attack that killed 20 schoolchildren and six others Friday, was prone to hurting himself, the drinking buddy said.
“Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something,” he recalled of a conversation they had about a year ago. “It was like he was trying to feel something.”
Self mutilation such as cutting and burning actually provide temporary relief to those having psychotic events of depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Criminal Psychologist Dr. Alan Lipman:The FACT is that every One of these episodes Is proceeded by an undiagnosed mental illness:
Joshua Flashman, 25, who grew up not far from where the shooting took place. Flashman, a U.S. Marine, is the son of a pastor at an area church where many of the victims’ families worship.
“From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Flashman told FoxNews.com. “Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”
Off the cuff, I do not think this update is true. If it is where is the court petition and where is the attorney? I do think that it is entirely possible that she discussed doing this at one point. However, if Connecticut had an AOT law such as “Laura’s Law” Nancy Lanza would have been able to get Adam Lanza the help he needed with little difficulty. But who is it who actively resists such laws? Read below.
Far Left Groups Defeated Connecticut Mental Health Protection Laws Just Months Before Shooting (Via Jim Hoft):
Here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S. that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).
AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).
Most states have laws and even a 1-800 mental health hotline and free clinics to help those who are mentally ill. Arizona had such laws and facilities, but not even the local police called the number after they determined that Jarod Loughner had troubles perceiving reality. Loughner, like Lanza should have been forcibly evaluated. If evaluated, Jarrod Loughner would not have been able to buy the weapon that he bought to do his terrible deed as his evaluation would have been reported to the proper authorities.
We have gun laws that work pretty well, but no system works unless the people on the ground take action to put those laws and resources into action.
Those who engage in “Normalcy Bias” when it comes to mental illness have plenty of cover in leftist academia (also via Jim Hoft):
For Your Country posted this back after schizophrenic Jared Loughner went on his shooting rampage in Arizona that left several people dead and US Rep. Gabby Giffords seriously wounded.
It actually very hard to force people with severe mental diseases to be treated because of a range of reforms pushed by progressives starting in the 60′s:
Ronald David Laing, a Scottish Psychiatrist, In the 60′s put forth the foundation of the Anti-Psychiatry movement. He maintained that schizophrenia was “a theory not a fact”. The popularity of Laing’s theories is blamed for decline in students entering the psychology profession.
Kenneth Kesey, wrote “One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest” based in part on Laing’s thinking (and his own intensive use of drugs). “Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, rather that society had pushed them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and behave.” The Book,play, and later the movie, portrayed a anti-psychiatry philosophy leading to a public displeasure with residential mental facilities resulting in further deinstitutionalization policies.
As a result of Laing, Kennedy, Kesey and public efforts to transform the mental health care system to be more humane, to characterize mentally ill people as “Just thinking differently”, and characterizing mental health care as some form of evil, we now have a system that makes it virtually impossible to get folks like Loughner the care they need.
Deinstitutionalization policies driven by “do good” liberals and the federal government put focus on limited bad acts. Kesey wrote a story based on his LSD induced observations in one VA mental hospital. Once his story was put into film, his small example falsely characterized the bulk of mental health care as dehumanizing and made it impossible to force the Loughners of the world to get treatment.
Critics will focus on gun control after today’s school massacre. The focus should be on failed liberal policies that excuse rather than assist extremely dysfunctional individuals.
We here at Political Arena are the last to look for government to offer up solutions, but in the case of the mentally ill, most do not have insurance and need state assistance for treatment. Only by education and treatment on a level comparable to that which has been used to combat AIDS will this problem get seriously better.
But What About Guns
[Editor’s Note – While not every teacher in Israel carries a rifle, military personnel, reservists, and those with a gun license may carry a weapon openly in Israel. Israel provides armed security for most of its institutions including schools.]
While there is no question that those who are bent on destruction will often find a way to do so with or without access to firearms, sometimes access to guns, in this case stolen guns from a relative, amplifies the damage a disturbed person can cause.
It is important to examine the big picture. In Switzerland and Israel where guns are everywhere there is very little gun crime and very few mass shootings, but in areas of Europe that have gun control laws that essentially turn the citizens into mere subjects, according to studies by Dr. John R. Lott and others, per capita they have about the same number of deaths via mass shooting as the United States does. In states areas where more citizens carry guns legally there are drops in crime and gun violence in almost every instance. Put simply, criminals and those with ill intent prefer helpless unarmed victims.
UPDATE– When Adam Lanza discovered that armed responders were on the scene, that is when the rampage ended – “We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life,” Mr. Malloy said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Dana Loesch has put together a handy list of sourced and credible statistics about gun crime in general. Notice how violent crime, according to government and academic sources, is much higher in areas where citizens are restricted from using firearms for self defense.
Those with a knee jerk reaction may blame the guns, but do they credit guns with the killing of Osama bin Laden or do they credit the Navy Seals? There is clearly a double standard at play here, and in the case of politicians who know better, the double standard is an agenda driven one.
That agenda is parroted by a liberal elite media which not only focuses on the guns due to their statist ideology, that agenda is also what results in that same elite media not reporting cases where armed citizens prevented mass shooting such as the case of Appalachian Law School, and just two days ago an armed citizen stopped a mall shooting in Portland. When the deranged gunman saw the armed citizen he took cover and then took his own life. When heroic Sandy Brook School principal Dawn Hochsprung lunged at Adam Lanza, she deserved to have the right to lunge at him with something better than a ball point pen.
Many critics are being nakedly political by blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA trains every police firearms instructor and almost every civilian firearms safety instructor in the country. The NRA runs the largest firearm safety program for kids in the country and teaches in many schools. The NRA is also the most powerful political lobby in Washington DC.
Blaming the NRA for this tragedy is like blaming anti-drug war groups for substance abuse and drug overdoses. It really does not get much more irrational than that.
MONTREAL — Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.
But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.
A leading Montreal gynecologist said that these days, she cannot look her patients in the eye because the wait times are so shocking. Lack of resources, including nursing staff and budget compressions, are driving a backlog of surgeries while operating rooms stand empty. The latest figures from the provincial government show that over a span of nearly 11 months, 7,780 patients in the Montreal area waited six months or longer for day surgeries, while another 2,957 waited for six months or longer for operations that required hospitalization.
The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.
“It’s a crisis for Quebec women,” said Lucy Gilbert, director of gynecological oncology and the gynecologic cancer multi-disciplinary team at the McGill University Health Centre. Her team has had access to operating rooms only two days a week for the past year, with dozens of patients having surgeries postponed week after week.
Patients are prioritized according to need, Gilbert said, but surgical delays are still too long.
Gilbert says there are days she can’t face going into work at the Royal Victoria Hospital, a renowned cancer centre in gynecology, and dealing with crying patients. “Put yourself in their place. … I have difficulty making eye contact with patients. I am ashamed to be in such a situation.
“People are suffering. People are waiting too long,” Gilbert said. “This should not happen. No matter how good your surgery is, no matter how good your chemotherapy is, if you delay the surgery there could be a problem. The cancer grows. The cancer spreads.”
One worried patient, a mother of five children who waited three months for surgery for invasive breast cancer, said she is worried about the effects of such a long wait. After surgery, she paid $800 for a bone scan in a private clinic rather than wait five months for a scan at the Jewish General Hospital.
“They needed the scan to see what kind of treatment to give me,” said the woman, 40, who asked that her name not be published because she is starting chemotherapy this week. “The doctors are amazing but health system is not working.”
The American public doesn’t support Obamacare, and a new survey shows that doctors have an even worse opinion. No one has a better grasp on the state of the health care system than physicians, and according to the Doctors Company survey, 60 percent of them believe that Obamacare will have a negative impact on overall patient care. This survey is consistent with the findings of another doctor survey taken in October 2010, which also showed doctors’ lack of confidence in Obamacare.
The survey was conducted to unveil physicians’ concerns about health care reform. The Doctors Company, which is the largest insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability in the nation, received more than 5,000 surveys, including all specialties and every region in the country. The results weren’t good for the President’s signature piece of legislation.
Not only do doctors believe that Obamacare will not improve the health care system, they also anticipate that it will worsen the current condition. According to the survey, nine out of 10 physicians are unwilling to recommend health care as a profession to a family member, and one primary care physician even commented, “I would not recommend becoming an M.D. to anyone.”
Obamacare doesn’t just discourage entrance into the medical profession; it encourages those who are already practicing to leave it. The survey states that “health care reform is motivating doctors to change their retirement timeline.” In fact, 43 percent of respondents said they are considering retiring within the next five years as a result of the law. A surgeon from Michigan wrote that under Obamacare, “We will be moving further away from humanity-based health care and more towards the patient as a commodity. This was not the way my father practiced—nor will I. Winding down to retire early.”
Currently, the United States is on the brink of a severe physician shortage. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, by 2020, the nation will need an additional 91,500 doctors to meet medical demand. Dr. Donald J. Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Association, warns, “Today, we are perilously close to a true crisis as newly insured Americans enter the health care system and our population continues to age.” If current physicians leave the practice early because of the health law, the problem will be exacerbated even further.
Finally, the survey revealed concerns that the health law will compromise the doctor-patient relationship. Slightly more than half of doctors surveyed believe “that increased bureaucracy is reducing the personal interaction with patients essential for building a close relationship and understanding the nature of patient health.”
Under Obamacare, Heritage expert Robert Moffit writes, “physicians will be subject to more government regulation and oversight, and will be increasingly dependent on unreliable government reimbursement for medical services. Doctors, already under tremendous pressure, will only see their jobs become more difficult.” To reverse this trend, the U.S. needs health care reform that doctors and patients alike can eagerly support.
“If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X