Writes Ed Smith:
When we file our annual income tax returns in Massachusetts, there's a multi-page form on which we're required to specify the type of medical insurance we have, whether or not our coverage is "substantially compliant" (which the insurance plans have to tell us by sending us an annual form) and then, if our coverage isn't "substantially compliant," another form, with a lengthy worksheet, to compute the penalty tax which turns out to be a function of "Modified Massachusetts Adjusted Income"—the computation of which requires the filling out of another lengthy worksheet after adjusting for various deductions and credits (the computation of which requires yet a third worksheet).
At a dinner party this past Friday evening, I was chatting with a physician friend, a family/primary care physician. I asked him how his practice has been faring under Romneycare and what he thought of Obamacare. He told me that since Romneycare came on board, he and his colleagues, in their office practice, can only hope to make ends meet on volume, scheduling five to ten minute routine appointments, twenty minutes for "serious cases," and annual physicals (which take fifteen minutes) booked up to six months in advance. From 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day, he and his staff sit down to attend to paperwork.
Has Romney care led to cost reductions and better care for patients, I asked him. No way, he told me. It's only been better for the insurance companies. What about Obamacare? He rolled his eyes. "We've been sold a bill of goods." He and his family live modestly. He's certainly not getting rich from his medical practice. His wife works to make ends meet. She's a nurse. At your office? I asked him. No, at one of the public clinics where she does better than she could do at his practice, "no fooling."