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Election Post-Script: Will Millions of Newly Insured Patients Deprive Docs of Choice?

G. Keith Smith, MD

November 2012

Whenever someone tells me they have a right to health care, I ask them, “From whom? From me?” This question exposes this “right” for the robbery that it is. Do you really want to exercise your right to health care on a physician who doesn’t want any part of this bargain? What kind of care do you think you’ll receive?

Years ago, I stopped doing cardiac anesthesia, as well over half of the patients were covered by Medicare and payment for my services was below what I thought acceptable ($285 for my last six-hour cardiac anesthetic). Soon thereafter I stopped dealing with Medicare and Medicaid altogether, as I increasingly saw myself as receiving money taken from my neighbors against their will.

Soon after, an angry cardiac surgeon, inconvenienced by my departure from the group of available cardiac anesthesiologists and with his finger in my face, told me he was going to see to it that I was forced to do these anesthetics, so as not to disrupt his schedule. I guess he thought he had a right to my services.

I said, “Dr. X, I’ll be happy to visit with the family before their loved one’s surgery and inform them that I want no part of this and don’t really want to be here, but someone is forcing me do this. Maybe you would like to wait for an anesthesiologist who wants to be part of this, because I certainly don’t.” The cardiac surgeon suddenly understood.

Now imagine this situation on a large scale. Angry mobs of folks waving their Obamacare insurance cards in the street, demanding free health care outside a closed and vacant doctor’s office. In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, it seems likely ....

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