As it happens Dr. B is a good conservative and we talked often about Obamacare and the effects it may have on American health care in general and his practice in particular. He said the Obama Administration was hostile to doctors like him and much preferred to deal with huge medical networks. He confided in me that independent physicians would likely be driven from medicine due to the God awful amount of regulations, requirements, mandates etc. imposed by Obamacare. And sure enough it came to pass. He sold his practice to Duke University Health System a month or so ago and is now just an employee.
Now, I was scheduled today for a six month follow up to my yearly physical in August. I got a call yesterday not from a real human but an automated message saying something like this is Duke Medical blah blah blah reminding you blah blah. So I go in today and all the staff had been replaced with all new faces. The new people were courteous but somehow perfunctory and disengaged. In addition the clientele didn't look like Dr. B patients and the antiques were gone. The place had all the atmosphere of a Philadelphia methadone clinic. And I felt like a cog in the great Obamacare government regulated machine.
I guess I shouldn't complain, in a couple of years I'll probably look back on this as the good old days. But even still, the times are a-changin (to quote Bob Dyan) and I'm sad for Dr. B. and I'm also sad and afraid for the country. I'm afraid we may well have screwed up the greatest health care system in the world and I know we screwed up at least one family owned, family practice.