• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Can’t Find a Doctor? Obamacare Will Only Make It Worse


    Under the headline “Doctor shortage looms as primary care loses its pull”, USA Today reports:

    Considering it takes 10 to 11 years to educate a doctor, the drying up of the pipeline is a big concern to health-care experts. The AAFP is predicting a shortage of 40,000 family physicians in 2020, when the demand is expected to spike. The U.S. health care system has about 100,000 family physicians and will need 139,531 in 10 years. The current environment is attracting only half the number needed to meet the demand

    At the heart of the rising demands on primary-care physicians will be the 78 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964, who begin to turn 65 in 2011 and will require increasing medical care, and the current group of underserved patients.

    If Congress passes health care legislation that extends insurance coverage to a significant part of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance, the need for more doctors is going to escalate.

    The USA Today is dead on. Obamacare will only make this nation’s already existing doctor shortage much, much worse:

    First, Obama plans to pay for up to a third of his plan by cutting $313 billion in Medicare reimbursements to health care providers over the next 10 years. This will only force more doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients. Second, Obama’s public “option” could decrease the annual net income of hospitals by $36 billion, while the annual net income of physicians could drop by $33.1 billion. Facing a sharp reduction in their pay, more doctors will retire early and more bright students will elect to pursue other careers, thereby reducing access and ensuring lower quality health care for future generations as well.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Can’t Find a Doctor? Obamacare Will Only Make It Worse

    1. deb says:

      Raising Cane, This is how our country was formed after all. The President just made a clear line in the sand for the public option!! He is not gonna waver from that he is gonna push this healthcare thing through at any cost…We the people have to make a bold stand against the Government these town hall meetings are not working…We need to raise cane a bold move to make them not just listen but to make them change this thing…Walk on capital hill, protest against the Gov. strike on not working, somthing I don't know…We are the one that has all this correct and if we don't start to stand up and draw our line they are gonna do this thing at all cost..Pls help us get the mssg out even more we need to take a bolder stands…

      Thanks Deb

    2. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 08/19/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    3. suzzie, Denver says:

      People seem to think that Medicare is free to the recipients, when in fact they take part A out of your social security check before you receive it, and your supplemental (so you can go to the hospital) is up to the recipient to fund–my husband and I together are paying $732. per month: the SS take-out, AARP supplemental and AARP drug plan. I had lunch with someone today who assumed all Medicare coverage was free and did not carry a premium or cost anything. I guess what seniors are wondering is if we will be required to continue paying our premiums and then get blown off if we get sick–? Sounds like it.

    4. Lee says:

      Excellent point, but what is missing from the doctor debate, and has always been missing, is the shortage of doctors who specialize in geriatric care. This problem is far greater than the shortage of primary care physicians. Of course if you deny care to seniors because their worth to society is minimal (see Ezechial Emanual and Peter Singer health care positions) then you don't need these type of doctors.

    5. Ron, Fargo says:

      Suzie forgot to mention that we also paid medicare taxes practically all our working life. That's for hospital coverage along with the supplement. Many Dr's do not accept medicare patients now, because of reduced payments. All seniors had better vote! vote! vote! And those who are approaching senior status better wake up and vote!

    6. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      Th cost of medicare is hidden on our paychecks, just like how much we pay in taxes. The majority of working people never look to see hown much is taken out of their paychecks. I would be willing to bet that the majority of people when asked how much they paid in taxes for 2008, will tell you I got back so much. Income tax and the medicare tax, which pays for medicare, is deducted from our checks. We never got the money in our hand so we do not miss it. The dems know this and they designed the with holding in such away so people will never see what the"guvement" is taking from the working person.WAKE AND VOTE IN 2010.

    7. John Roane Sarasota says:

      Not to worry, everyone will wake up and smell the coffee after the healthcare bill is passed on the first visit to the doctor, which will be for the average person 4 – 6 months after they request it or 2 days after their mother dies.

      It' nothing new and it’s your own fault America for not fighting for your rights. By the way your rights aren't free plenty of us have died and are dying to protect them. You could have at least read the US Constitution and held your US Congress to it to say thank you to those of us who defended you and the US Constitution.

    8. Jay, Humble, TEXAS says:

      Yesterday Obama made contact with the leaders of religious groups demanding that they persuade their members to support his health care overhaul and he has asked them to advance his health care agenda with a telephone appearance on Aug. 19.

      Excuse me? Isn't this the same bunch that advocates and demands the separation of church and State?

      What a rotten lot of lying, deceitful, and dishonest hypocrites!!! If it serves their purpose nothing is out of bounds. The means is justified if it achieves the desired end.

    9. James, GA says:

      Obviously Obama does not need qualified doctors to run his health plan. Neither Obama or members of either side of the aisle in Congress ask doctors their opinion on the health plan. I see Obama publicizing parts of his plan to see the public reaction. If people complain he will set it aside for a while. He wants to get any kind of a plan passed, and then later he will slip in all the bad stuff that we don't want.

    10. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      It isn't just us old folks that will feel the crunch from Obamacare. Many younger people will find that, with Obamacare, more of the burden of care for their parents, grandparents etc will fall on them. But Obamacare isn't about health care, insurance or our moral obligation to our neighbor. It's about destroying America and setting up a socialist government.

    11. Leith Wood, Virginia says:

      Texas,how right you are. Another name for it is Chicago thuggery. They should be in jail,not in our White House. This group has no love for the real America the forefathers created and no use for the Constitution. Keep calling,fighting for freedom and writing.

    12. suzzie, Denver says:

      Responding to Ron, Fargo:

      After some minor day surgery the pathologist was paid $29.35 by Medicare for his services. My hairdresser charges $36. for a haircut.

      And so this fabulous plan on the table is going to cut Medicare payments to the doctors even more? I am amazed that professionals are being thought of as beasts of burden that can be harnessed and whipped into service at the whim of a dense governmental bureaucrat. Amazing arrogance.

      Regarding the evaluation of people by age:

      Think of all the wonderful people past retirement age that still work and enrich our lives–artists, musicians, scientists, writers, teachers, volunteers–or just wonderful people who are our friends and family.

      There are, conversely, many young people who contribute little or nothing but the air they breathe out, and some who are lethal drags on our country and culture at large. One must be very careful deciding who is worthwhile and who is not, and certainly age alone presents no validity to that argument.

      Also, let's not forget that when medical care is denied or rationed and years are removed from untold lives, all those years of social security payments, military and teacher retirements, and union pensions are now non-existent–enormous savings. In this political climate where greed knows no bounds I am sure that has been evaluated.

    13. Pingback: USA Today predicts doctor shortage if Obamacare passes « Wintery Knight Blog

    14. Patriotdoc, North Ca says:

      Most people don't realize that Medicare has essentially destroyed the specialty of Geriatrics. Medicare only allows about 50 cents on the dollar for doctor reimbursement (and then pays only 80% of that), and most physicians' overhead is 55 to 60% these days, so unless the doctor does cattle herd, 5 minute medicine, he can't even pay his overhead. I am a primary care physician and would love to do mostly geriatrics, but I depend on commercially insured patients to cover what Medicare doesn't pay. I have to carefully limit how many Medicare patients I see. Elderly patients can't even get their story out in 5 minutes. Obama's "Medicare for all" will radically change the quality of primary care for the worse, making it impossible to keep a clinic open without huge cuts in support staff, and seeing too many patients per hour to be accurate or safe. If HR 3200 passes, I foresee huge shutdowns of primary care practices across the country until reimbursement is increased to make the practices viable, or there is some sort of government immunity from lawsuits from the mistakes that will inevitably occur doing 5 minute medicine.

    15. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Even if you can find a Doctor, what will he be able to do for you? That is the question, isn't it?


    16. boisd'arc, KS says:

      Do you realize how many primary care physicians are baby boomers themselves? What is your health system going to look like when they all retire early in the face of Obama care?

    17. Eric - Conyers GA says:

      Hi All

      It is a pleasure to read your aware comments! I'm 66 but not retired (I doubt I will now). Just got back from the Emory clinic in Conyers, where I was seen by my heart specialist within 5 minutes of getting there. I'll have Aeortic valve replacement sometime this fall, at a time and referral of my choosing. I might have put this off a while longer since I'm not in dire straits, but the fear of Obamacare has pushed me to get this earlier than later.

      Hello neighbor Dennis A! I'll go it one better, since, I am, as the woman in MD who said "You have awakened a sleeping GIANT in me". I WILL become an activist in the 4 th district! It's an uphill battle in the district which brought us Cynthia McKinney, but it has to start at the local level. Thanks Heritage for bringing us the facts and true analyses!

    18. Pingback: test » USA Today predicts doctor shortage if Obamacare passes

    19. Marie, Belleair Beac says:

      I agree with Deb, Raising Cane, and if you really want to know the truth about the healthcare Bill H.R. 3200, goggle "Dianna Cotter,examiner.com". The second article listed under her articles is

      THE DEMOCRAT HEALTH CARE BILL HR3200. This article gives you an entire breakdown page by page of the entire 1100 plus pages which most of your congressional representatives have not bothered to read, nor are going to read. Also, under "New York Post, Deadly Doctors", an article written by Betsy McCaughey, MD, tells the truth about HR3200 and also talks about statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and Dr. David Blumenthal about "end of Life alternatives". She actually read the entire bill, and people it is scary what is in store for us if we do not stop this runaway administration who is determined to shove this down our throats. If we all continue to sit back and wait for something to happen, it will and it will be Socialism and Marxist. The figures all the Dems are using are so skewed it's ridiculous. Take out the 28 Million people who choose not to take insurance for various reasons mostly because they are between the ages of 18-25 yrs. old and had rather do other things with their money. Also, take out the 11 Million illegal Aliens, and the numbers then become much smaller. It would be cheaper for the American people (taxpayers) for government to go out and purchase individual policies for $1Million Limits for those who really need it, than to try to make everyone conform to this Healthcare Bill.

      Small businesses are the back-bone of this country and they will suffer greatly from this bill.. Page 149 HCBill Lines 16-24 states ANY EMPLOYER WITH PAYROLL OF 400k AND ABOVE WHO DOES NOT PROVIDE PUBLIC OPT. WILL PAY 8% TAX ON EACH EMPLOYEE. Page 150, Lines 9-13 states employers w/payroll between 251K & 400K who do not provde public Option will pay 2-6% tax on all payroll. Page 167, Lines 18-23 says ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to the GOVERNMENT will be taxed 2.5% of income. One of the Worst is on Page 95, Lines 8-18 The Govt. will use groups i.e., ACORN & AMERICORPS to sign up individuals for Govt. HC plan. Page 239, Lines 14-24 HC Bill – Govt. will reduce physician services to Medicaid, Seniors, low income, Poor affected, etc.

      Now, just keep sitting there and do nothing and we will never get our Country back from these Dem's and Obama. Maybe we need a Million Person March on Washington. Nothing else seems to get their attention.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.