I look up.
The man sitting in the chair before me gives a suspicious squint. “This is about that Obamacare crap isn’t it? Those death panels?”
“No, sir.” I sigh. “I ask all of my patients over age 65 this question. I like to start having the conversation well before it is actually needed. I have done this for years before the ACA even came into effect. You just happened to have turned sixty-five since your last physical.” I try to give a reassuring smile.
More skeptical scowl.
“So what do you think of the death panels?”
“Sir. There are no death panels.”
“I don’t want to answer that question. You will just pass that on to the government.”
“No. It doesn’t work that way.”
He is not convinced. There is no “Refuses To Answer Question Because Of Inherent Mistrust Of The Government And The Medical Establishment” button. I wish there were, though, and I wish it would get sent to congress. Instead I click, “Decision Not Made, Reference Materials Provided.” People used to engage when I asked this question. Now they just shut down.
“Well what do you think of Obamacare, then? I feel bad for all of you doctors.” His scowl softens a bit.
“Truthfully, it has not affected me that much. It is affecting patients more. Some good. Some bad. Let’s talk about your blood pressure…”
He interrupts. “No. Tell me more about what you think about Obamacare.”
“Sir. That is 11,000 pages of legislation.”
He continues staring at me expectantly.
I will touch on a few observations I have made regarding the Affordable Care Act in the next several days….