Death Panels in Action: Hospitals Suffer Massive Layoffs Thanks to Obamacare

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2013   |   10:28AM   |   Washington, DC

Doctor shortages, medical-school dropouts, skyrocketing premiums, no money for pre-existing conditions, trillions more than promised, forced taxpayer funding of abortion, critical health-care rationing and a bankrupt nation — those were some of the dire predictions of those who opposed Obamacare.

Now that the government-run health care system is here, many of those are coming to pass — including doctor shortages. While backers of Obamacare derided opponents’ concerns about “death panels” as misleading, fears about health care rationing are already playing out with medical centers cutting staff, including physicians.

As Town Hall reports:

Last month we saw the Cleveland Clinic, a place Obama touted as the future of healthcare, cutting jobs in order to prepare for Obamacare.

The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic said on Wednesday it would cut jobs and slash five to six percent of its $6 billion annual budget to prepare for President Barack Obama’s health reforms.

The clinic, which has treated celebrities and world leaders such as musician Lou Reed, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former Olympic gold medal skater Scott Hamilton, did not say how many of its 44,000 employees would be laid off. But a spokeswoman said that $330 million would be cut from its annual budget.

Now, major hospitals around the country are doing the same.

Health care providers announced more layoffs than any other industry last month — 8,128 — largely because of reductions by hospitals, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas. So far this year, the health care sector has announced 41,085 layoffs, the third-most behind financial and industrial companies.

Total private hospital employment is still up by 36,000 in the past 12 months, but it’s down by 8,000 since April, and more staff reductions are expected into next year.

This month, Indiana University Health laid off about 900 workers as part of a move to trim its budget by $1 billion over five years. Vanderbilt plans to eliminate 1,000 jobs by the end of the year to help shave operating costs 8% a year.

During the most recent battle over the budget, it seemed like the medical device industry may get some kind of relief from Obamacare through a repeal of the medical device tax, something both Democrats and Republicans support. But due to partisan bickering and Harry Reid’s refusal to consider Obamacare could be killing jobs and entire industries, the tax still stands, companies keep cutting jobs and the medical device brain drain continues.

The 2013 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians, a survey of more than 600 physicians from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, found that “six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.”

Based on the survey results, Deloitte found that most U.S. physicians believe that, among other worries, under Obamacare: “The future of the medical profession may be in jeopardy as it loses clinical autonomy and compensation,” and “Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements may be problematic, prompting many physicians to limit or close their practices to these enrollees.”

Instead of the established doctor-patient relationship of old, “eight in 10 physicians agree that the wave of the future in medicine … involves interdisciplinary teams and care coordinators.”