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Will doctors be replaced by robots under ObamaCare?

One of the hallmarks of the president’s vision of ObamaCare is that under his leadership, the cost of health care will come down.

In addition to the fact that there is no data to support this claim, a recent analysis from the Manhattan Institute found that for people of medium income, ObamaCare could increase health costs by as much as 99 percent for men and about 55 percent for women, according to an earlier story from FoxNews.com

It’s extremely early in the game to predict what is going to happen five years from now. But one thing is becoming clear: In order to cut costs, the federal government will look to replace facets of physician-centered care with robotic technologies.

Man versus machine could be a battle that many physicians will face in the very near future.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a robotic technology called Sedasys, which was designed to replace anesthesiologists in some operating rooms. The machine, manufactured by Johnson and Johnson, will provide patients with automated deep sedation during procedures where patients are not put completely under, like colonoscopies.

Those supporting this technology argue that it would grossly reduce the cost of physician anesthesia services from $600 to $150 per procedure. Now, I’m all for technology, but it has to bring something new to the table, rather than simply replacing physicians in order to lower costs.

Sedasys utilizes a powerful drug, called propofol, which, if used improperly, has the potential to put patients in grave danger. In some cases, propofol can cause patients to stop breathing or experience sudden decreases in blood pressure. How will medical emergencies – which can pop up at any time during a procedure - be monitored and treated if there are no anesthesiologists present?

As I have said before, while medicine is not an exact science, many men and women have dedicated their lives to it. Medicine needs human contact, with doctors trained to provide specialized care, in order to succeed.

I certainly don’t want to go into surgery – an already dehumanizing environment – only to be treated by a robot, do you?

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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