Doctors Close Doors in Face of Obamacare
Driving Doctors Out of Business
Even before the Affordable Care Act passed, we were already facing a doctor shortage. One that is likely to reach critical levels within the next decade.
Now that Obamacare has passed, the shortage will get worse much faster. In fact, it’s already starting.
Under Obamacare, 30 million uninsured Americans now have coverage. That’s largely due to government subsidies.
But many of those same Americans are going to discover that having health insurance and having access to healthcare are two different things.
Brace for “System Overload”
“A system overload is inevitable.” That’s according to the Heritage Foundation.
They did a study of the general population versus the healthcare industry. The results are troubling.
- Every state needs more doctors. Both primary care physicians and specialists.
- Senior citizens will make up 50% of the population by the year 2050. They use more healthcare on average. As they grow as a percentage of the population, so will the demands on the medical industry.
- Doctors and other healthcare workers are concentrated in cities. That means shortages in rural areas are much worse than the national average.
- The ratio of specialists to primary care physicians is too high. There are roughly 3 primary care physicians for every 6 specialists. A healthier ratio is 5 primary care doctors for every 4 specialists. Too many specialists and too few primary care doctors leads to higher costs and lower quality of care.
- We need up to 45,000 additional primary care physicians. And we need them within the next decade. Otherwise we’ll never be able to meet the increased demands created by Obamacare.
I sympathize with wanting to provide insurance coverage to more people. I really do. But, if that coverage doesn’t come with actual access to healthcare … then what’s the point? Long wait times, shorter doctor visits, and reduced access to providers hurt us all.
Health Insurance Alone Does Not Make People Well
Obamacare does include incentives for people to become doctors. But our current education system is not physically capable of producing the number of new healthcare workers we need in the next decade. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at the problem.
Of those that are going into the medical profession, most are choosing specialties over primary care. The growing shortage of primary care doctors in the next decade could prove nothing short of devastating.
In pockets all around the nation, people are already meeting with difficulty when it comes to getting care.
In Seattle, a network of community health clinics has reported turning away 150 people a week. And this was after they had expanded in anticipation of higher demands.
In Nevada, insurance coverage has increased by 50 percent or more. But the number of available doctors hasn’t risen. In some areas, there are only 44 doctors per 100,000 people. Well below the national average.
Colorado and Kentucky are also having a hard time dealing with the surge of new patients. They just don’t have the doctors to see them.
Many newly insured patients are covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Doctor shortages are particularly hard on these folks. 55% of doctors do not accept Medicaid patients. 25% turn away those on Medicare.
Doctors Are Walking Away
Not only do we not have enough doctors, we are starting to lose some of those we do have. They are retiring early because of the regulatory burdens that come with practicing medicine under Obamacare.
Isolated reports from doctors all over the country are trickling out. Doors are closing to practices. Doctors are retiring early. There’s just too much stress, too much cost, too much paperwork. All thanks to government regulation.
This really isn’t surprising. According to a survey of doctors, conducting in 2013, 62% stated that they expected “many physicians to retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.”
Fifty-seven percent responded that the practice of medicine is in jeopardy.
The bottom line is this: Obamacare or no Obamacare… insurance or no insurance… it’s going to get hard to find a doctor. So find one now. A concierge practice is a great choice is this time of unpredictable health care laws.
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