The title of this post seems a bit over the top. How could Obama and the Democrats possibly be blamed for the epidemic of drug overdoses that is sweeping the nation?

The roots of this problem lie with Obamacare- the Affordable Care Act and a company called Press Ganey. The little known company sends surveys out to patients of medical providers, and uses the patient’s satisfaction to rate doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. Over the past decade, the government has fully embraced the “patient is always right” model–these surveys focus on areas like waiting times, pain management and communication skills–betting that increased customer satisfaction will improve the quality of care and reduce costs.  I have seen patients lower a hospital’s scores because they didn’t have HBO on the televisions in the Emergency Room.

The government, due to Obamacare, has tied reimbursement of facilities to their Press Ganey scores. As a result, the focus in healthcare is in making the patient happy, but not necessarily on making the patient healthy. So doctors prescribe narcotics because patients want them, not because they need them. As they become addicted to these painkillers, the patients return again and again for their fix, all the while improving the doctor’s satisfaction scores.

But giving patients exactly what they want, versus what the doctor thinks is right, can be very bad medicine. Researchers using data from nearly 52,000 adults found that the most satisfied patients spent the most on health care and prescription drugs. They were 12% more likely to be admitted to the hospital and accounted for 9% more in total health care costs. They were also the ones more likely to die.

All of those facts mean nothing. All that matters is making the patient happy. Thanks Democrats, the plan you voted for is killing America.

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