Study: Obamacare to create doctor shortage

| November 20 2012
Christopher Cook

Opponents of Obamacare predicted this, warned about this, and tried to do all we could to prevent this. But according to yet another study, it may be unavoidable now that Obamacare looks like it’s with us for the foreseeable future.

A newly released study finds the United States will need an additional 52,000 primary by the year 2025, or it will risk a shortage of primary doctors, leaving millions without access to adequate health care.

The researchers — from several institutions including Georgetown University and the Robert Graham Center, Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, Washington, D.C. –conclude that the possible massive shortage of physicians will likely be the result of an aging population and the passage of the Affordable Care Act — a change that will expand health insurance coverage to an additional 38 million Americans.

“Population growth will be the greatest driver of expected increases in primary care utilization. Aging and insurance expansion will also contribute to utilization, but to a smaller extent,” the study’s authors wrote.

Researchers warn that the health care system could begin to face challenges in the years before 2025 as physicians retire and the aging baby boom population begins to emerge. According to researchers, the total number of office visits to primary care physicians is projected to increase from 462 million in 2008 to 565 million in 2025. After incorporating insurance expansion, the United States will require nearly 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025. Population growth will be the largest driver, accounting for 33,000 additional physicians, while 10,000 additional physicians will be needed to accommodate population aging. Insurance expansion will require more than 8,000 additional physicians, a 3 percent increase in the current workforce.

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The study’s conclusions do not do the seriousness of the matter justice. As doctor Keith Smith points out in yesterday’s Now We All Get Healthcare, Right? . . .

How will this change with ObamaCare? Doesn’t that give you a right to care?

Whenever someone tells me about the “right” to healthcare, I ask, “From whom? From me?” This question exposes this “right” for the robbery and slavery that it is. Take it to the next step. Do you really want to exercise your “right” to healthcare on a physician who doesn’t want any part of this bargain? What kind of care do you think you’ll receive?

Years ago, I stopped doing cardiac anesthesia, because well over half of the patients were “covered” by Medicare and payment to me for my services was well below what I thought acceptable ($285 for my last 6-hour cardiac anesthetic). Soon thereafter I stopped my dealings with Medicare (and Medicaid) altogether as I increasingly saw myself as the recipient of money taken from my neighbors against their will. As an aside, the angriest patients I’ve ever encountered were the Medicare patients I subsequently treated with no charge whatsoever. My providing charitable care elicited patient rage like none I’ve encountered since.

About two weeks after I quit, an angry cardiac surgeon, inconvenienced by my departure from the group of available cardiac anesthesiologists and with his finger in my face, told me that he was going to see to it that I was forced to do these anesthetics, so as not to disrupt his schedule. I guess he thought he had a “right” to my services.

It didn’t help things that I laughed. I said, “Dr. X, I’ll be happy to visit with the family before their loved one’s elective surgery and inform them that I want no part of this and that I don’t really want to be here, but someone is making me do this. Maybe you all would like to wait for an anesthesiologist who wants to be part of this, because I certainly don’t.”

This cardiac surgeon suddenly understood. Now imagine this on a large scale. Angry mobs of folks waving their ObamaCare “insurance” cards in the street demanding their free healthcare outside a closed and vacant doctor’s office.

That is what Obamacare is: an insurance card. Come 2014, you’ll have to certify to the IRS that you have such a card, one that is acceptable to the government. Or else you’ll have to pay the government for the “choice” to not have insurance: a minimum of $95 at first, climbing to $695 in a few years.

So keep that ObamaCare card handy. Either you or the taxpayers will have paid maybe $15,000 a year for it. Or it is very likely to be a Medicaid card. You’ll need the card when you call the healthcare provider. If you make it through the phone menu, your insurance number will likely be the first question you will be asked. This will tell what type of care you are eligible to receive and from whom, and how much the provider will be paid.

It is likely that the provider will not be a physician. The physician you might eventually see will not be working for you. He’ll be working for an ObamaCare Accountable Care Organization, which is paid for not providing care.

Underpayment by Medicare, onerous rules, and government meddling are going to do far more to drive doctors from the field than than the mere 8,000 that the study says will be needed to accommodate Obamacare’s expansion in the rolls of those covered.

That is, assuming such an expansion will ever even occur. So far, Obamacare is looking like it’s going to seriously mess up what was the greatest healthcare system in the world, and yet it will still leave millions uninsured.