Hal Scherz

Several weeks ago, as the country was facing a government shutdown and a debt ceiling crisis was looming, Republicans in both houses of the Congress called for a one year delay of the Obamacare individual mandate. They were branded as jihadists and domestic terrorists for taking this stance.

All has changed just a few weeks later as the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov crashed and burned, resulting in a catastrophic rollout of the Administration’s signature legislation. Now that the curtain has been pulled back and we see the disaster concealed behind it, Democrats in Congress are running for the lifeboats. Sensing that their association with Obamacare will be a political liability in their bids for re-election in 2014, a number of Senate Democrats are now interested in distancing themselves by suggesting a delay of the individual mandate. These positions are specious and transparent. The questions are whether the public will buy it and whether the GOP should grant them seats on the lifeboats.

Obamacare was a train wreck from the moment it passed. Sen. Max Baucus said as much and was so convinced of it, that he didn't want to stay around to see what happened. He headed for the exit and won’t run for re-election. The law is weighted down with provisions that benefit special interests at the expense of the American people. We are just beginning to see the results of this in the form of higher health insurance premiums, less doctor choice, and workforce reduction and jobs with fewer hours attached to them. Some of the more egregious and unworkable parts of the original law have been thrown out with very little fanfare. There was initially a provision in the ACA that all business transactions were required to have a 1099 reporting feature attached to them. There was a provision for long term care for all Americans- the CLASS act- another entitlement program. Both of these are gone because everyone realized that these were unworkable. Soon most people will realize that the entire law is unworkable.

The Democrats cling to their vision that government controlled healthcare is a good thing, but that Obamacare still has some “warts” that need removal. The 2.4% medical device tax is one of those blemishes that needs elimination and there is bipartisan support to do so. The same with the IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, whose sole raison d'etre is to reduce Medicare spending by cutting reimbursement for physician services. What needs to be critically considered is whether expunging the worst remaining parts of a bad law is sufficient, or should the fight be geared to ridding our country of this albatross of a law, as it drags down our healthcare system and the country with it?

Hal Scherz

Dr. Hal Scherz is the Chief of Urology at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Atlanta and Secretary of the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation.