In a Saturday PJ Media column ("A Physician’s New Reality: Patients Ask Me to Break the Law"), Dr. Peter Weiss, relays several important and ugly realities of what life will be like under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, which could easily have been reported any time during the past couple of years by members of the establishment press.
Most of what Dr. Weiss discusses has to do with ObamaCare's free annual exam. As will be seen, the administration and the press have made it seem far more valuable than what patients will see in the real world. If any of what the doctor describes below has been previously addressed in the press, I sure haven't seen it (italics are in original; bolds are mine):
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I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.
If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.
You, the patient, will then have to make a decision.
Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss.
... It is the law. If you are complaining of a new problem, then you have to reschedule, since Obamacare is very clear as to what is covered and what is not. Obamacare — intentionally — makes it as difficult to be seen and taken care of as possible.
... I have had patients make an “annual” exam, only to want to discuss and be treated for another ailment. I can’t do it.
... On top of all of that, doctors will be obligated — that’s right, obligated — to talk to you about things you may have no interest or need to talk about.
You may just want to have a pap smear or check your cholesterol. However, I am now mandated by the government to talk to you about your weight, exercise, family life, smoking, sexual abuse(!), and even to ask if you wear seat belts. And I am mandated to record your answers.
It takes a while, but the good doctor gets to the reason for his column's title in a later paragraph, wherein we learn, not surprisingly, that people who are expecting "free stuff" and always seem to be gaming the system to try to get it aren't pleased:
I have received interesting responses from my patients since I put up the notice. Almost all are supportive and totally understand. The very few who complain? The same patients who always ask for free samples, who always complain that we do not validate parking. These are also the same patients who call my office and ask for free samples even when they are not even being seen.
In sum, the overhyped "free annual physical" (or "free annual wellness visit") is yet another example of "You get what you pay for" -- in this case accompanied by a healthy dose of Big Brother as an intrusive, nagging nanny.
Normally, misleading labeling and government-mandated privacy intrusions would be fodder for press exposes. But not for ObamaCare, which is apparently seen as beyond any need for investigation or criticism.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.