A Shortage Of Doctors: Ya Don’t Say… And The Other Unintended Consequences Of Obamacare

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal shares this inevitable news:

The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.

The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient.

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.

The whole point of health care reform was too feel better–not you, or your health–but liberal politicians.

It wasn’t to improve health care treatment.

It wasn’t to reduce costs.

It wasn’t even to get more people under care.

Wait, what? That’s right. More people will be insured, but patients will receive less care at more cost. It’s just logical. The new health care system creates a gatekeeper system that will eliminate individual choice and drive up costs. So, a person thinks something is wrong with his prostate–he goes directly to a proctologist. That saves 1. wait time 2. cost (no double doctor fees) and 3. diagnosis time.

But not now.

Oh no! Now, a patient must wait to get into an overburdened primary care physician, get a referral and then get into another physician. A patient will be dead by the time he gets diagnosed.

The inevitable response?

Cash-only doctors. Some doctors won’t accept this new insurance and work outside the system. So, people will pay into the health service, hate the waits and then, go pay cash for good care.

The rich will have good care while subsidizing everyone else. The middle class will be caught in a jam because the taxes will be so egregious they can’t afford anything, never mind a quick diagnosis. So they will be caught in government-mandated substandard care.

And the poor, who don’t pay into the system, will still misuse the system because they still won’t take care of themselves. And Medicare and Medicaid could have been expanded to help them as is.

But noooo. An overhaul had to happen. The government had to control health care.

If this diseased legislation doesn’t get revoked, America is going to go down the road of all disastrous socialized countries: chronic unemployment, disheartened and downwardly mobile middle class and an elite aristocracy for whom policy doesn’t matter.

In the liberal world that’s called utopia.

And by the way, a small board will decide what does and does not get covered under Obamacare. So, yes, death sentences will be handed down by the government. That too, is inevitable.



Health Care Reform: About Doctors

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

My last post focused on jobs generally. Now, what about Doctors? Everyone wants to know about doctors because it’s already tough to get a doctor if you’re on Medicaid or Medicare.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, it’s going to get worse:

Physician Support of Health Reform in General
• 62.7% of physicians feel that health reform is needed but should be implemented in a more targeted, gradual way, as opposed to the sweeping overhaul that is in legislation. [NOTE: I think this reflects the American public, too. No one is saying to do nothing. This bill is just not the “something” that needs to be done.]
• 28.7% of physicians are in favor of a public option.
• 3.6% of physicians prefer the “status quo” and feel that the U.S. health care system is best “as is.

Health Reform and Primary Care Physicians
• 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

Health Reform, Public Option, and Practice Revenue/Physician Income
• 41% of physicians feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” with a public option.
• 30% feel income will “decline or worsen somewhat” with a public option.
• 9% feel income will “improve somewhat” with a public option, and 0.8% feel income will “improve dramatically” with a public option.

Health Reform, Public Option, and Physician Supply
• 72% of physicians feel that a public option would have a negative impact on physician supply, with 45% feeling it will “decline or worsen dramatically” and 27% predicting it will “decline or worsen somewhat. [NOTE: This is the part that is most concerning. What will then happen is that the United States will recruit less-qualified drones to fill the jobs. As the role of physician becomes commoditized, the person seeking that job will change.]
• 24% of physicians think they will try to retire early if a public option is implemented.
• 21% of physicians would try to leave medicine if a public option is implemented, even if not near retirement age at the time.

Health Reform and Recommending Medicine to Others as a Career
• 36% of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career, regardless of health reform.
• 27% would recommend medicine as a career but not if health reform passes.
• 25% of physicians would recommend medicine as a career regardless of health reform.
• 12% would not recommend medicine as a career now but feel that they would recommend it as a career if health reform passes

Source: The Medicus Firm “Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care,”
The Medicus Firm, www.TheMedicusFirm.com

This does NOT bode well for the future of American medicine. More importantly, it harms the care Americans will receive.

By the way, Democrats know this. This bill is NOT about health care. It’s about transitioning costs away from the unions and the ballooning aging Boomer population to the younger, healthier people.

Health care reform is a tax plan.