We should all begin to understand the basic economic dynamics of our professions and industries: It is sad to realize how many highly trained and well-educated professionals don’t understand basic cash flow issues at their place of employment. Ask them “how do you get paid?” and you’re likely to hear “through automatic deposit” or “I get a check every 2 weeks.”
The insurance industry thought the Obamacare agenda was great at first – if the federal government uses its power to mandate that people buy your product (insurance) what could possibly go wrong? – but now finds itself a servant to the federal government, and reliant on the government’s ability to operate websites and process subsidy applications properly. In short, the insurance industry is now, by law, an extension of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the presidential administration.
And then there are the medical doctors among us. There was a day when the American Medical Association officially opposed Medicare, the federal healthcare program for retirees and the disabled, because physicians feared “too much government meddling” in their practices. But soon after the program launched, the AMA fell in love with Medicare because it created continuous revenue streams in to doctor’s offices.
But after two and a half decades or so of financial bliss, things began to change. Back in the 90’s the federal government began telling physicians, in essence, “we don’t care what your ‘billing rate’ is for any particular service – we’ll pay you what we think your service is worth.” As a result many physicians try to limit the number of Medicare patients they see today, because dealing with Medicare is financially a “loser.”
Having still not learned their lesson, the AMA then began an “on again – off again” flirtation with President Barack Obama. In 2009 the group tacitly opposed Obamacare; then in 2010 they said they were “open to it;” and in 2012 – in the final few weeks of the presidential re-election cycle – they officially opposed it again. Without any clear understanding of the economic dynamics of their profession, today physicians are losing their jobs in some regions of the country and having their wages cut in others, because the Obamacare law drives up the operational costs of hospitals and clinics, making physicians’ salaries unmanageable.
For those physicians who are privileged to remain employed, increasingly they find themselves to be administrators of a government program, less practitioners of medicine. Tragic, indeed.
Have Americans sobered-up and are we willing to assume responsibility for our own needs? Or are we still looking for a savior in the White House and in Congress, and willing to believe more empty promises? The 2014 elections should help answer these questions.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.