Suicide by Jellyfish: Obamacare’s Paperwork Suffocating Employment
In hopes to dispel what she believes is a “popular myth,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated last month,”There is absolutely no evidence – and every economist will tell you this – that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act.” 
However,one healthcare industry trade organization was determined to set the record straight with a damning report, which proved otherwise.
“The [medical excise] tax has resulted in employment reductions of approximately 14,000 industry workers and forgone hiring of 19,000 workers. The total job impact of the tax on industry employment was approximately 33,000… The impact of the tax on indirect employment would be approximately 132,000 jobs, for a total job loss due to the tax of as many as 165,000 jobs.” 
It’s not just the medical device industry that’s being hit. Numerous healthcare facilities across the nation have been restructuring, either through layoffs or buyouts, to help ease the financial pressure caused by the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicare.Paula, a healthcare professional in Ohio, knows this reality all too well.
“The large teaching facility that I worked for announced [last fall] it had to follow suit with other facilities and cut back. In order to stay afloat,they had to cut $330,000,000 from the budget and more cuts annually are being forecasted due to Obamacare that has cursed this great country of ours,” said Paula.
The financial cuts translated into staff reductions. The facility offered seasoned staff members the choice of retiring early, giving them a one-time offer with special enhancements.
“The letter said whether you accept it or not there is no guarantee that you will still have a job because things have to be reorganized,” Paula shared. “Since I’m not a gambler, a little bit of something is better than all of nothing. Unfortunately, the next batch of people may get nothing because the position is no longer needed – at least I got two years of healthcare.”
Even though the choice was solely hers, it was still painful as Paula was planning to work several more years.
“It was really a shock. It [the decision] had to be handed in by December 6,” she said. “I cried after that. I wasn’t ready to make that decision.”
Paula believes the facility will face a new set of challenges this October as the new medical code leviathan – CD-10 – is enacted, sending hospitals and doctors into a documentation tailspin.
“The number of codes will explode—from 17,000 under the current system to 155,000 under the new one, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).” 
If you’re wondering what could inspire 138,000 new codes, it simple. Doctors – more like the government – need to know if the injury was due to “suicide by jellyfish or a forced landing of your spacecraft.” 
This code actually exists.
“[T]hese exotic injuries, code less for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter)…” 
Mastering these new codes and making sure each patient is properly documented could be a processing nightmare, especially if a hospital is operating on a skeleton staff.
With a few more years until retirement age, Paula hopes that a medical facility will need extra help in transitioning to the new system in the fall, which will open the door to some type of job opportunity.
We had to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it. Now, documenting spacecraft landings across the country has never been more affordable.
- 1- Condon, Stephanie. Sebelius: No evidence Obamacare led to job losses. www.cbsnews.com 18 February 2014.
- 2- Howley, Patrick. Health industry group: Yes, we’ve suffered massive Obamacare job losses. dailycaller.com 18 February 2014.
- 3,4,5- Hayes, Stephen F. Code Chaos. www.weeklystandard.com 10 March 2014.