Healthcare Mesmerism

President Obama’s healthcare reform is roaring success. Dr. Mesmer tells us so.  

In the late eighteenth century, a physician named Franz Mesmer proposed the existence of an energy that could pass from inanimate objects to living organisms, such as animals and humans. He called this unseen force “animal magnetism.” Forty years later, his theory formed the basis of what we now call hypnosis. In his honor, 19th-century hypnotherapists first named the technique mesmerism.

Mesmerism has become shorthand for persuading people that something is true when in fact it is false. Using mesmerism, black is white; good is baaad; “Freedom is slavery; War is peace; and Ignorance is strength” (from Orwell’s 1984.)

Deploying a strategy of mesmerism, Washington has tried to convince us that their PPAHCA treatment of poor sick patient Healthcare is a reform, a change for the better. Their approach is poisoning the patient. Then they use mesmerism to make us believe that PPAHCA:  protects patients; is affordable; and will increase access to health care.

Beware! Do not be fooled. Don’t let them misdirect or mesmerize you.

Every day, we are bombarded with reports of PPAHCA signups, like the scores of an athletic competition. We carefully keep track of this week’s numbers to see who is winning or losing -- Team Obamacare or Team Opposition. To continue the sports analogy, Dr. Mesmer doesn’t suggest we take our eye off the ball. He convinces us that the ball is actually a bat, or a glove, or the third base umpire.

He mesmerizes us into forgetting the reason for the game in the first place: the medical and financial health of Americans and America.

Washington’s grandiose promises are mesmerizing. How can you not fixate on such prizes as “all the health care you deserve” and “making sure that every American has insurance?” Meanwhile, we miss the wizard behind the screen, who is are taking our money and delivering the opposite of what was promised.

“All the health care you deserve.” Who is going to provide that service? Every poll (Rand; Pew, Kaiser, CBO) shows that the doctor shortage, which was bad before 2010, is getting worse. Why?

There are two basic reasons why doctors are leaving medical practice (or at least refusing to take PPAHCA-insured patients.) First, there is the bureaucratic burden. As a prematurely retired pediatrician told me last weekend, “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” The amount of unnecessary red tape, regulatory oversight, and incomprehensible complexity makes trying to take care of patients a painful experience. The rollout of ICD-10 and all the other new Obamacare regulations will not only cost billions of dollars, but also consume millions of provider hours doing useless, mandatory administrative tasks when they should be with patients.

The second reason for the escalating doctor shortage is money. As Robert Moffitt of Heritage Foundation testified before Congress, “You can’t get more of something by paying less for it.” You can’t insure more patients; reduce payments to doctors; and then expect medical care to become more available. The math just doesn’t work.

Then there is the “stain on our national honor” of 50 (no … 45, actually 30, could be as low as 20) million uninsured Americans. A recent CBO report suggests that in the year 2020, the number of uninsured Americans will be the same as it was in 2010, when the PPAHCA was signed into law. So, the U.S. will spend more than $1.7 trillion over ten years to accomplish … nothing?

No wait -- here comes Dr. Mesmer. He assures us that we will get better insurance, which is what we really needed in the first place. We just didn’t know it.

His mesmerizing skills are so good that we do not notice that: (a) our insurance is more expensive, not less; (b) we are forced to buy things we don’t want; (c) the number of uninsured Americans is not going down; (d) the number of underinsured Americans is going up; and (e) those ≈2200 exemptions aren’t worth the engraved White House stationary on which they were written.

Mesmerism is so effective that we finally understand not having a job or being forced out of business is actually a “release from job-lock” (per Jay Carney, White House Communications Director.) Obamacare’s economic wet blanket and job suppression is allowing us to switch from being wage slaves to doing what we really want to do: painting and poetry (per Nancy Pelosi).

And so, the winner of the game known as Healthcare is… Dr. Franz Mesmer and his Washington-based disciples! (Of course, the big losers are We The Patients and the U.S.A.)

Dr. Deane Waldman is Host of The Hidden Enemy Newsletter-&-Forum; author of "The Cancer In Healthcare"; Emeritus Professor of Pediatric, Pathology & Decision Science; and member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Health Exchange.