The Supremes Can’t Hurry Love…or Obamacare

The eyes of America are fixed upon the Supreme Court today.  Will they uphold the Constitution, or will they pave the way for America to be remade into a European Democratic Socialist country?

Or, will they even issue a ruling at all today?

Television cameras will surround the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, as they did Monday, anticipating something that may, again, not happen.

The momentous healthcare decision could be announced Thursday. Or not. All we really know is that it is extremely likely to be handed down by the following Thursday, June 28, when the court is expected to end its current term.

The court works in secrecy as it prepares its opinions, and outsiders might be surprised to learn that some of its work is done at the last minute. The justices would have voted almost immediately after three days of oral arguments last March on whether President Obama’s healthcare overhaul is constitutional. Although that vote would normally have determined the outcome of the case, there is a lot of back and forth before the majority opinion and the dissents, if any, are finished.

Last Friday was the deadline for justices to hand in dissents. Then whoever is writing the majority opinion – the betting is on Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. – has the option of responding to any criticism of the ruling in his own opinion.

The decisions are printed inside the ornate 1935 Corinthian-style building, and handed out to reporters as the justice who authored the opinion announces the decision from the bench shortly after 10 a.m. By tradition the senior justice goes last, so healthcare is likely to be the last decision announced on the day it comes down.

Only a few times in modern history have the results leaked ahead of time, once reputedly from a comment by a justice to a reporter, another time from a talkative printer.

The court is not meeting Friday, so if the healthcare decision does not come Thursday, the next opportunity would be Monday.

So, why is America – including doctors - holding their breath every time SCOTUS is in session?

…a new survey shows that doctors have an even worse opinion [than the rest of the American public]. 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.”

Governor Rick Perry of Texas put it succinctly when he said:

Obamacare has got everyone on edge. I mean, small business – men and women or big business are sitting out there saying we have no idea what this is going to cost, but we know it’s going to cost us and cost us a lot.

And Americans cannot afford Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.

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