Human Events Blog

ObamaCare “Saves Money” By Costing You Money

Blogger George Scoville spots a fascinating story of ObamaCare failure in today’s Bloomberg Government report:

Doctors at East Louisville Pediatrics PSC in Kentucky say they’re writing as many as 50 prescriptions a day for drugs such as Bayer AG’s aspirin and Pfizer Inc.’s Advil that don’t need a physician’s nod to be purchased off pharmacy shelves.

[…] “It’s a complete waste of time,” said Conrad Flick, one of five physicians at Family Medical Associates of Raleigh in North Carolina, in a telephone interview. In many cases, he said, he’ll talk with patients by phone to determine why they want the drug before he feels comfortable writing the prescription. “So I’m spending an extra half-hour or hour of my day doing things that I don’t get paid for,” he said.

Administrative costs from the new provision are growing, said Diane Myers, administrator for the East Louisville practice that has eight doctors and two nurse practitioners who write prescriptions. “I bet we’re spending a minimum of 10 hours a week on these things,” she said.

Why are doctors writing prescriptions for over-the-counter medication?  Because part of the ObamaCare fraud involved claiming billions in “savings” by taxing over-the-counter drugs purchased with health savings account money, unless a prescription is written.

The trend, triggered by the 2010 health-care law, affects more than 20 million Americans with flexible spending or health savings accounts that let them use pretax dollars for medical needs. A U.S. rule that took effect Jan. 1 taxes purchases of over-the-counter drugs except for insulin unless the patient has a prescription, generating $5 billion through 2019, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Doctors, pharmacists, insurers and drug companies say while it may generate money to help expand coverage for the uninsured, the measure is driving up medical costs and creating unnecessary work. They want it repealed, expecting demand to surge at year’s end, when people have to use up balances in the accounts.

Behold the magic of ObamaCare, the bill nobody read: avoiding a tax grab worth $5 billion over 10 years leads patients to bury doctors under paperwork… ultimately bending the cost curve upward, and reducing the amount of time available to doctors for providing actual medical treatment. 

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