A follow-up to last night’s post about the looming dangers of mass amputation if ObamaCare doesn’t pass. This is now the second time in three weeks that a doctors’ association has had to correct him publicly over a bit of cheap demagoguery aimed at scaring people into swallowing his plan. Or, rather, the third time: The American College of Surgeons released a statement of its own earlier this evening hammering him on the same points as the AMA. What’s next for The One? Accusing nurses of stealing money out of patients’ wallets while they’re asleep?
We agree with President Obama on the importance of prevention. However, a recent example used to illustrate his important point was misleading. Surgeons are not paid $30,000 to $50,000 to amputate a diabetic’s foot. Medicare pays a surgeon, on average, from $541.72 to $708.71 for one of two procedures involving a foot amputation. It is possible that the total bill, hospital stay, rehabilitation, prosthesis, etc. may approach the larger amount mentioned.
In the case of tonsillectomies, a patient is referred to a surgeon after medication therapy has proven to be ineffective. Actually, the medical profession itself recognized questions about utilization and appropriateness of tonsillectomies and took action by developing clinical guidelines, which has resulted in a sharp decline in the rate of tonsillectomies.
These types of examples create the impression that physicians are motivated by payment levels rather than what is best for patients. The AMA will continue to stress to our elected leaders that physicians are dedicated to putting patients first and optimizing health care quality.
Translation: The guy who wants to run American health care was off here by a factor of 100 on cost. Although who knows? If the public’s fears about exploding health-care expenses under ObamaCare prove justified, maybe someday soon an amputation will run you $30-50K.
Oh, here’s something else I spotted on the wire today that has no implications at all for a public option or single-payer. None.