Retired physician blasts health-reform law

Bill called Obama’s ‘hidden agenda’ at local Republican women meeting

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the slippery slope that will lead to stripping power from individuals and delivering it to the government, a former president of the American Medical Association said Tuesday at a meeting of the Southwest Republican Women.

The audience of 80 included a handful of men.

Dr. William G. Plested III, retired thoracic surgeon who now has a Bayfield address, said the consolidation of decision making in the hands of government bureaucrats is President Barack Obama’s “hidden agenda.”

He labeled the legislation “the most dangerous act of our lifetimes and probably the most dangerous in the history of our nation.”

No element of the Affordable Care Act – from its conception to its passage – escaped Plested’s wrath.

“We are constantly told that Congress duly passed this law,” Plested said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.

“It was drafted in absolute secrecy with bitter hyperpartisanship, allowed no input from Republicans and survived only because of outlandish procedural manipulations.”

Plested said the legislation was a fiasco that will stand for all times as a national embarrassment.

Last week, Marguerite Salazar, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Denver, said in Durango the Affordable Care Act already has benefitted thousands of people.

Current programs will be modified and new services will become available, Salazar said at a public meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women and Citizens Health Advisory Board of La Plata County.

Plested had harsh words for decision-making panels – Federal Coordinating Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research, Independent Payment Advisory Board and Accountable Care Organization.

The panels, Plested said, will take away the ability of patients and surgeons to select treatments, damage patient-physician relationships, unilaterally set prices for Medicare spending and authorize the government to assign the physician, nurse and hospital used by Medicare patients.

“You must give these folks credit, not just for dreaming up these things but also for carefully keeping them absolutely secret until long after they were passed,” Plested said. “There is good reason why so much is left until after this coming election.”

The insurance exchanges through which insurers can offer health-care policies will have limited choices because the government will manipulate the free market, Plested said.

Many physicians, sandbagged already by payments that don’t meet expenses, are talking about closing their practices, Plested said. Obamacare would increase patient loads and cut government reimbursement, he said.

Overall, Obamacare foretells decreased access to care, a bureaucracy run amok and less quality of service, Plested said.

“In your lifetime, nothing will be more expensive for you, your families and your loved ones than ‘free’ government health care,” Plested said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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