Daniel Henninger writes in the 7/4/12 Wall Street Journal, Obamacare’s Lost Tribe: Doctors.


A remarkable and important piece by Drs. Christine K. Cassel and Sachin H. Jain in the June 17 Journal of the American Medical Association directly asks: “Does Measurement Suppress Motivation?”

The question raised by the article is whether imposing pay-for-performance measurements on individual physicians does more harm than good: “[C]lose attention must be given to whether and how these initiatives motivate physicians and not turn physicians into pawns working only toward specific measurable outcomes, losing the complex problem-solving and diagnostic capabilities essential to their role in quality of patient care, and diminish their sense of professional responsibility by making it a market commodity.”

Mitt Romney needs a way to talk about health care in America. This isn’t just a fight over insurance companies. It’s about the people at the center of health care—doctors. The Affordable Care Act will damage that most crucial of all life relationships, that between an ill person and his physician. Barack Obama’s assertion that we all can keep our doctors is false. You could line up practicing physicians from here to Boston to explain to Mr. Romney why that is so.

HKO comment:

Obama promised you could keep your doctor, but he never promised that the doctor would keep you.  It is typical of an elitist bureaucrat to believe they can get more out of doctors than they were already motivated to do by the nature of their relationship with their patient.

Medicine like most complex professions and relationships is as much art as science.  Would we trust these bureaucrats to improve the outputs of musicians and artists as well?  Would any of us believe that the end product would not deteriorate if they tried?

Medicine is much more than inputs and outputs.  Bureacratic wedges between doctors and patients will not improve either.