Obamacare’s “Ball and Chain”


March 11, 2015
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Obama knew what he was doing. Before he tackled Obamacare, he signed HITECH into law. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act – a euphemism if there ever was one – was part of the 2009 Recovery Act (“economic stimulus”).  

HITECH gives $3.5 billion for “comparative effectiveness research” (rationing-based studies) and requires all physicians, hospitals and other providers to buy and use an Internet-accessible electronic health record (EHR) “meaningfully” – or face Medicare penalties starting at 1% this year.

In short, Obama put in place a “ball and chains” law before he signed Obamacare into law. Without the EHR, physicians and patients could escape Obamacare surveillance strategies and the imposed “quality” and “value”-based payment controls necessary to ensure his takeover of the practice of medicine.

Need more evidence? A new study discusses the 9% of physicians who refuse the EHR (MDs walking free). It claims “nonadopters” will need help selecting EHRs because “new models of health care delivery require use of an EHR.” Did you catch that? Your doctor won’t get paid without one, at least not by government or its health plans partners. For example, in Medicare’s new “Oncology Care Model”:

“Participating practices must demonstrate an increasing commitment to using electronic health records throughout the performance years…Prior to the start of the first performance year, participating practices are required to demonstrate their intent to meaningfully use EHR technology…”

“Meaningful use” is government coercion. MU requires physician compliance with “decision support rules” (government treatment protocols), reporting “clinical quality measures” (compliance reporting), sending data to State cancer and vaccination databases, implementing central-planning initiatives (“population health”), sending and tracking prescriptions electronically, recording patient obesity scores and behaviors (e.g. smoking), capturing agenda-driven data (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender), and more.

Under Medicare’s new “value not volume” payment systems, federal payments “will depend on how well providers care for their patients, instead of how much care they provide,” says HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. Under this system, your doctors and hospitals will “partner with health plans and move toward a health system that is patient-centered,” says Patrick Conway, M.D. at the Medicare administration.

Text Box:  This is like reading Newspeak from George Orwell’s novel 1984. “Value” is whatever government says it is and there’s nothing “patient-centered” about a system that puts physicians and third-party payers in partnership – and the patient-doctor relationship on ice.

Penalties are coming. In 2015, 256,000 practitioners will lose a total of $200 million due to “meaningful use” penalties. The pain enabled by this EHR ball and chain will only worsen over time.

The federal government’s MU grant program paid $28 billion to build the EHR system through which physicians are to be controlled. Now government officials are clawing back those dollars through MU penalties, MU audits, and by using the EHR to control your doctor’s treatment decisions. This is called health care rationing.

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Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder