Obamacare Not An Improvement

Proponents of socialism insist big government always knows best. It does not, and the new national health care law – Obamacare – is demonstrating that right here in the Ohio Valley.

As we reported Monday, Dr. Jose J. Ventosa Jr. is planning to close his pediatric practice in Glen Dale. Ventosa has been helping local residents for 43 years. He estimates he has treated about 6,000 patients.

Though he is 72 years old, Ventosa had not been planning to retire. He worries that when he does, it may be difficult for many people who have relied on him to find a new pediatrician.

But the doctor fears he will have no choice but to close his practice, because he does not believe it will be feasible for him to comply with an Obamacare mandate that physicians maintain patient records electronically. It would cost him about $40,000, not to mention an enormous amount of effort and aggravation, to convert his office’s paper records into a digital format, Ventosa estimates.

Earlier in his career, Ventosa might well have gone ahead with the changeover. Physicians, after all, are no strangers to new technology.

And Ventosa may continue to serve patients, perhaps through a hospital. But it seems his private practice may be winding down because of the new law.

Keeping medical records in a format accessible through computers is a good idea, of course. Cutting even a few years off the careers of dedicated health care professionals such as Ventosa is counterproductive in terms of community health care, however.

Could not some method have been found to begin the process of standardizing medical record-keeping while not forcing good doctors like Ventosa to make a tough choice? Of course. It happens all the time in the private sector.

Not in government, however. Obamacare will be bad for most Americans for any number of reasons. That it probably will lessen rather than expand access to health care is just one of them.