Obamacare Causes Layoffs At the Cleveland Clinic, Chaos Everywhere Else

While promoting the bill that would become Obamacare in 2009, President Barack Obama visited the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic and lauded how well the facility worked for patients.

In a press conference in July of that year, Obama said the Cleveland Clinic is an example of health care that works “well.”

“And part of the reason it works well is because they've set up a system where patient care is the number-one concern, not bureaucracy, what forms have to be filled out, what do we get reimbursed for,” Obama said. “Those are changes that I think the American people want to see.”

Fast forward, Obamacare is the law of the land thanks to partisan wrangling and rank dishonesty, and two weeks before it goes into effect, it is causing serious budget cuts and layoffs at the Cleveland Clinic.

Administrators at the Cleveland Clinic announced on Wednesday that the health care giant would be cutting as much as $300 million from its 2014 budget, and that the cuts will likely include layoffs.

"Health care reform has really changed things, and the burden of cost is going to be falling on patients," spokeswoman Eileen Shiel told The Plain Dealer. "We want to make sure we can keep care affordable."

During a regularly scheduled quarterly meeting, Cleveland Clinic President and Chief Executive Dr. Toby Cosgrove told employees about plans to reduce operating expenses by about 6 percent, and cited the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as one of the reasons for the cuts.

"To prepare for health care reform, Cleveland Clinic is transforming the way care is delivered to patients," the Clinic's representatives said in a statement. "Over the past several years, we have had an ongoing focus on driving efficiencies, lowering costs, reducing duplication in services and enhancing quality to make health care affordable to patients."

The Cleveland Clinic is far from alone in suffering cuts.

On Wednesday, Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, confirmed that it was trimming $8.2 million from its budget by laying off 58 workers this week, cutting back the hours for 46 more, and opting not to fill 132 open positions, mostly through attrition. In February, Akron General Health System laid off 132 employees and cut 118 other positions. In 2011, University Hospitals announced $100 million in cuts over two years, and MetroHealth Medical Center laid off 450 people by cutting $30 million and closing a 144-bed skilled nursing facility.

"This has become the new normal," Sheil said. "This has been a conversation that's been ongoing, not just at the Cleveland Clinic but nationally."

The "new normal" includes software that Americans are supposed to use to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, but which is nowhere near ready for prime time. The software, which costs $88 billion ($1 billion more than that Iraq war resolution that John Kerry was for, before he was against) is spitting out errant prices for health insurance. Americans in 36 states will be impacted.

Between the layoffs, the cuts, the demolition of the 40-hour work week, the exodus of seasoned medical personnel seeking to escape Obamacare and the premium price rises it is causing, Obamacare amounts to an assault on the American economy.