January 21, 2010, - 10:34 am

AhnoldCare: Dr. Schwarzenegger Brings Mini-ObamaCare to California

By Debbie Schlussel

Full-blown ObamaCare means the government controls the entire healthcare system, setting fees and virtually every other condition under which you see a doctor, take medicine, and/or get a surgical procedure (or don’t get one because the government thinks your life is no longer worth the cost).


(Arnold Drawing from Schlussel Wacky Packs Collection)

But, courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his consumer activist and HMO friends, California is set, next year, to begin mini-ObamaCare, with the state setting time limits for doctors who accept HMO patients in which to see patients.  Beginning in 2011, family practitioners doctors must see patients within ten days of their first contact seeking an appointment, and specialists within 15 days of when a patient contacts them for an appointment.  Doctors can extend the waiting period if they decide it will not harm the patient’s health, but there may be a whole bunch of paperwork associated with that, requiring the doctor to see the patient to establish a defense to the new guidelines.

Thanks, Ahnold . . .

And doctors who violate the new time periods for seeing patients will be fined.  Imagine if your business was “fined” for not completing a job or a sale when the government says you should.

Ostensibly, this “solution” is aimed at the HMOs, themselves.  But the punishment will actually be taken out on doctors and their patients.  Doctors who accept HMO payment are already overloaded and only have a few minutes each per patient.  HMO payments are such that they must see many patients in a given day in order to make decent money.  This will make it such that doctors’ time will be stretched even further, lest they lose money because of the state-imposed “late fee” fines.  And they’ll have to spend even less time per patient . . . or drop HMO coverage altogether.  The second option wouldn’t be a bad thing, and it’s already the trend in medicine for many doctors who seek to spend more time with patients and charge out-of-pocket market-based prices (the way things used to be and to where they should return).

Essentially, the new California rules are a mini-version of ObamaCare . . . or a cleverly designed mechanism to try to convince the people of the most populus state in the Union to cry out for ObamaCare as a panacea to the overwhelming problems these new rules will create.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, who was involved in establishing these new rules for doctors, really earns his movie nickname, “The Terminator,” several times over. First, his crushing fuel efficiency rules destroyed over 50,000 auto industry jobs. And now, he’s ruining the medical profession. His political career can’t be terminated soon enough.

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10 Responses

Wait, so if I want to really annoy a specific doctor, I should have all a bunch of homeless people call with questions so that doctor will have to see every uninsured homeless person for free and then go broke? What a country!

Fred Taub on January 21, 2010 at 11:01 am

Clearly unconstitutional. 5th Amendment, 13th Amendment, freedom to contract. Secondary arguments, 1st Amendment, 9th Amendment (Griswold).

pat on January 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I like some of his movies, but the faux-Conservative pro-Abortion Governator has never impressed me. He looked like knight in shining armor, coming in on the special election because the Dem Gov had so messed up Calif. that Roger Ebert would have looked good by comparison, but…Arnie-go and don’t be back.

Douglas Q on January 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Debbie, don’t forget his notorious AB32 cap and trade program. Republicans are launching an initiative to get it suspended in a bad economy.

NormanF on January 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but …

No matter what happens health care in this country is going to stink. That is simply a fact and is not based on any agenda, political or otherwise. I state this because two of the cornerstones of our current system have to go.

The first thing that has to go is employer provided health care. We are in a global economy and there is no way employers in this country can compete against foreign competitors when part of the cost to the American employers is healthcare that foreign employers do not pay. Having the government provide payments to individuals through the tax system or some other way will not work either. Just look at what financial aid has done to colleges, specifically to tuition.

The second thing that as to go is having doctors and patients make medical choices without outside interference while the insurance companies or the government pay for those choices. If there is one thing economists of all political persuasions agree on it is that any system where one party makes decisions that another party must pay for is a train wreck.

I personally believe that we currently have the best system with those two items I state must go. The problem is that the system itself is not sustainable with them for the reasons I mentioned above.

Debbie mentioned physicians charging market based prices. Admittedly I have not considered that. However, while having market based prices might make any medical care system better than not having market based prices, I still see medical care getting a lot worse even with market based prices.

Please believe me when I state that I would love to be proven wrong.

I_AM_ME on January 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Any fines or penalties will be passed on to the patient in the form of higher premiums, co-payments, or deductibles. This is really just a stealth tax, rather than a consumer protection measure. Also, if someone really has an emergency or urgent care issue, they should not be playing around with appointments anyway, but getting into an urgent care or emergency room facility. Finally, I can guarantee that when health care become nationalized, the old waiting periods that we complain about today will seem like nirvana in comparison.

Worry01 on January 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Hey Worry01, I’m waiting for a response to my own response to you. An apology from you would be appropriate.


sk on January 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

sk=skzion, of course.

sk on January 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

There is a problem seeing doctors promptly sometimes, if you are not very rich, but this isn’t the way to solve it.

Little Al on January 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Debbie, thanks for the info. I didn’t see this coming. Basically all conservatives and independents in California see AHHHWWWFUUULLL as a liberal. Check out AB32 which is the green building code that AHHHHWWWFUUUULL signed. Job killer.

As for this bill, could an illegal alien have a legitimate claim if they weren’t serviced in time? Me thinks that they would and doctors would be beholden to illegals. If I was a doctor I would leave the state.

Fortunately for California we have extensive direct democracy. Thankfully we will revolt this year. I work in the ballot initiative field. California may have the biggest REVOLT based on the ballot initiatives filed this year.

Back in 2003 I warned all Republicans and Conservatives I knew to vote for Tom McClintock. I knew AHHHWWWFUUUULLL was a liberal. People got caught up in the hype and self-promotion.

I see it again. Debbie you are warning all Conservatives about Sarah Palin. She is not a conservative. We will get burned if she is ever voted President. She is EMPTY. She has no convictions. All we can say is we tried. California is living with the result of a liberal saying he is a Republican.

CaliforniaScreaming on January 22, 2010 at 2:36 am

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