Published March 09, 2011
Nearly one year after it was signed - Obamacare has become the law of unintended consequences.
And according to The Wall Street Journal, that list continues to grow. First there were the insurance pools for high-risk patients. The authors of this law thought these would be so attractive to people that funding would not be needed after a point.
But high premiums have kept enrollment at just 6%. Remember how excited they were about stopping insurers from dropping kids with pre-existing conditions? Turns out some insurers just stopped insuring children altogether.
And Obamacare gives incentives for providers to collaborate. But regulators now feel that violates anti-trust laws. Are you kidding me?
As if that weren't bad enough - the Journal uncovered a new problem... and it hurts everyone from patients to doctors to pharmacies.
After the ink was dry - it was uncovered Obamacare stops people from using their flexible spending accounts on over-the-counter meds. In other words - you need a prescription to get the tax break.
Thirty-three million Americans use FSAs, which are accounts drawing funds directly from your paycheck - tax-free. People have used these accounts to buy things like aspirin, skin creams, and cough meds since 2003.
But no more. Now these patients are flooding doctors’ offices looking for prescriptions on items easily purchased at your local pharmacy - drowning them in paperwork.
The Journal reported the story of a California woman who went without over-the-counter cold medicine because of the changes to FSAs, only to later develop pneumonia waiting for a prescription.
She said, “It feels like you're begging for something when it's your money!"
Also, as a way to lower the influx of new patients, some doctors are imposing surcharges of around $5 to $10 for each prescription they write. Plus they're more subject to malpractice lawsuits since writing a prescription for simple OTC meds makes them responsible.
Not to mention the stress this puts on pharmacies which now have to issue more prescriptions and put personalized labels on some 15,000 everyday products.
While the White House seems open to the idea of repealing this requirement - I wouldn't hold my breath.
When it comes to repealing any part of Obamacare - the Democrats haven't exactly moved at lightning speed.