by Chris Harris
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
And people who — clearly — support bad leaders with bad ideas shouldn’t throw them either.
The decision by local Dr. Stephen Kiteck to hang up his stethoscope and close his practice because of the impact of “Obamacare” has made national headlines. Buzzfeed. Fox News. Snarky little blogs.
Following Kiteck’s appearance on Fox News Tuesday night to discuss the impact that new federal regulations have had on his business, Tricia Neal — former staff writer here at the Commonwealth Journal and current contributor to Southern Kentucky Health & Family — sent me a link to an article on a website called “Daily Kos.”
One of Kiteck’s public comments — a tongue-in-cheek bit of self-effacement in which he called himself “computer illiterate” — made for a convenient target.
“Sounds like Kiteck’s patients might be dodging a bullet,” read the article. “After all, who would really want a computer illiterate doctor in 2013? Does he know about the Internet?”
Really? You want to go THERE?
Because let’s not forget that if Obamacare has proven anything so far, it’s that this whole administration is pretty poor with computers too.
The rollout of Healthcare.gov, the health insurance exchange website that was given birth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare, has pretty much been fodder for punchlines by late night talk show comedians and endless “I-told-you-so” taunting from the political Right. Upon its debut in early October, the website immediately proved nearly impossible for citizens to actually use.
Glitches abounded — there were more bugs than at an insectarium. Those who were responsible for the website were woefully unprepared — reports have suggested that the government was expecting close to 50,000 initial users and got a quarter of a million. The website couldn’t handle it. Software and design issues were faulted. Users had to wait unreasonable times for the site to load pages, or enrollments didn’t go through. Some people received incorrect quotes when comparing plans.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. If I was going to sit here and list all the problems people had with the Obamacare website, I’d run out of column space. Suffice it to say, it was the Internet equivalent of the “Titanic” sinking. The result has been millions and millions of fewer Americans signing up for Obamacare plans than projected by this time.
And oh yeah. Then there was that whole bit with President Obama saying that if we liked our insurance, we could keep it ... and then numerous folks lost their current insurance plans because they weren’t compatible with the mess Obama cooked up. Oops.
Of course, the real problem with “Obamacare” isn’t a faulty website. Even if it worked perfectly, the philosophy that led to its creation would still be just as abominable.
The simple fact is this: Government is not your friend. It is not here to help you. It is not here to make your life better. All it does is place more power into the hands of a small group of people to make decisions about your life that should be left to you and you alone. Bringing government into anything that is the right and true domain of the private sector — which is pretty much everything we do on a daily basis, every purchase we make, every business decision entered into — will produce nothing but corruption.
The idea of forcing Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so isn’t just poorly thought-out, it’s like something out of a movie, one of those dystopian visions of the future where the people live under a heavy hand of oppression. The idea that anybody could think this was a good idea is astounding. Yet people did. They voted for Obama. And here we are.
Some of us always realized how terrible an idea Obamacare — or any additional government intervention in the marketplace (what existed previously was already too much) — actually was, and so none of this hand-wringing over a botched website comes as any surprise.
Anyone who is honest with themselves should be able to see the effect that government meddling and increased regulations has on small businesses. The more rules, the more the little guy gets choked. And Dr. Stephen Kiteck’s cozy little practice just got choked to death.
Obviously, his patients didn’t have any problem with his old-fashioned approach to healing people, with paper records and prescription pads. Would electronic record-keeping by their doctor make their life better at all? I’m sure Kiteck could carve his records into the side of a tree, for all his patients cared. They just wanted the doctor they trusted and felt comfortable with. And now they’ve lost him, because someone in government thought they knew better than the actual doctors out there in the real world.
You can see things from Kiteck’s perspective or not. You can think he’s blowing things out of proportion, or is afraid of change. That’s fine. You can think whatever you want about the matter. But the fact of the matter is, for whatever reason, Kiteck decided that current circumstances made it so running the practice just wasn’t worth it for him anymore. And that’s a shame. Our leaders should be making it easier to run small businesses, not harder. If they’ve made it more challenging — in any way — then they’re in the wrong.
So instead of poking fun at Kiteck for not being a Pulaski County Bill Gates when it comes to computers, perhaps the folks at the Daily Kos should stop and consider what really matters: helping people as a doctor? Or adhering to government’s bright ideas?
Or maybe getting the Obama camp to fix their own website first before talking about anyone else’s computer illiteracy?