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  • Side Effects: Doctor Participation May Vary

    In recent years, the United States has faced a growing shortage of physicians.  Under Obamacare, it will only get worse. Industry experts predict a 40,000 shortfall in doctors over the next decade

    There are two factors at play here.  First, the existing supply of primary care physicians will not be able to keep up with the increased demand posed by millions of newly-covered patients.  Second, and even more alarming, many physicians feel compelled to voluntarily leave the profession when the bill starts to affect their practices.

    Call it a double-edged sword on physician supply.  It creates demand for more physicians as it encourages doctors to leave the profession entirely.  Under Obamacare, physician workload is expected to increase, even as federal health programs cut reimbursement rates for the docs.  “Work more for less” is not a slogan calculated to attract more workers to the field or improve the quality of care.

    According to a recent study conducted by Medicus Firm, a physician consulting group, over 29 percent of 1,200 doctors surveyed said that they would leave the medical profession or retire early if Obamacare were enacted.  Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they would not recommend their profession in the wake of the new law.

    Medicus Managing Director Kevin Perpetua remarked:

    The overwhelming prediction from physicians is that health reform, if implemented inappropriately, could create a detrimental combination of circumstances, and result in an environment in which it is not possible for most physicians to continue practicing medicine…Health-care reform and increasing government control of medicine may be the final straw that causes the physician workforce to break down.

    A physician shortage will undermine the bill’s entire premise of extending and improving coverage to all Americans.  Shortages hinder patient access to care and can reduce the quality of care given by overextended physicians.

    The new health care law extends health coverage to millions… on paper.  But given the law’s disincentives for physicians, patients may find it harder and harder to find doctor.  And those who do may find longer waiting times and much less time with the doctor in the examining room.

    For more information on health reforms that won’t create such problems, click here.

    Rick Sherwood currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/About/Internships-Young-Leaders/The-Heritage-Foundation-Internship-Program

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Side Effects: Doctor Participation May Vary

    1. Wm; Ky says:

      I suspect that Nurse Practioners and Physician Assistants will take over the role of Primary Care Physicians. As a Family Practice physician I already see this happening. It is ok for the "nickel and dime" illnesses but will promote specialist referrals at an increased rate for more complicated problems. And I would expect therin lies the biggest problem for patients, i.e., waiting to get into the exam room of an already overworked specialist. I would not recommend anyone go into medicine and only a fool would go into Primary Care.

    2. Charles R. Williams, says:

      And then again, maybe people who are basically healthy will just pay the penalties and pay their physicians cash for routine services rather than buy overpriced insurance. If they get seriously ill, there is always guaranteed-issue.

    3. Thomas Hines, Tinley says:

      The government will then change the physician licensing process to fast track the licensing of foreign trained physicians. From a global point of view there will always be a professional that will work for less. Even under Obamacare the conditions in this country may still be better than conditions in other countries.

    4. Pingback: Predictions and Resignations – Blog Watch

    5. JP Andrews, Houston says:

      I am a Pediatrician. I am in the middle of an extended leave of absence to raise my young children. I will never go back to medicine. EVER! Why would I go back to 14 hour days (that required 2 nannies to care for my children), weekends, holidays, phone calls at all hours of the night, and be expected to do it for less compensation and under the direction of some clueless government bureaucrat? As physicians leave the practice of medicine, our patient's care will be relegated to nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who may do well managing minor illnesses, but lack the comprehensive medical education necessary to manage more complex illnesses.

    6. BRS says:

      Hmm…are we on the road to black market healthcare?

    7. Pingback: Calculating Risk and Putting A Blog To Bed | Go HealthReform

    8. Rick says:

      I am a medical student from a family of doctors. My relatives already stopped accepting the LBJ entitlement insurances years ago because they were hemorrhaging money. If the government feels they have the right to tell me I have to work more for less money, they'd better pay off my student loans. Why should some union teacher who works 6 hour days, 8 months out of the year , with a masters degree, make as much or more than I do, with a BS, a 4 yr doctorate, a 3 year residency + however long my fellowship will be, that cost me over $250k?

    9. Rick R, US says:

      We train too few MDs in this country. Every year thousands of applicants are denied entry to medical school. And then we complain we have too few doctors because in Obamacare we will cover nearly all Americans. What a joke. We should be investing in training ENOUGH MDs to treat ALL Americans. The MD shortage means our MDs make more money than in every other country, nearly 3 times the after-tax purchasing power of German MDs. In Germany MDs make about as much as engineers and in the US they make country club salaries. Add in a costly overhead and adminstration and a largely inactive overweight population. Then we don't understand why our health care is 16% of GDP when it's 10% for our competitors. Blaming Obmacare for a shortage of MDs or a high cost for health care is a misrepresentation of the facts. Just like when you guys claimed Obama tripled the federal deficit with the FY2009 budget, a budget that actually was Bush's. Instead of promoting Conservative Policies, why don't you start promoting helpful policies with truthful arguments?

    10. Rick R, US says:

      I see several of the commenters are MDs who apparently went into the profession for the money and they are complaining if they have trouble earning country club salaries. It's a shame we are turning away thousands of medical school applicants every year who are looking for a chance to help others rather than make fortunes. As far as the commenter with the $250K debt, I thought most residents earned $30-50K per year, as much as most teachers. As far as the Pediatrician leaving medicine, it's nice that you earned enough that you can AFFORD to leave your profession. Most workers in this country can't afford to take an extended leave of absence and then just quit.

    11. carmen says:

      Rick R, US

      You obviously have no idea what it takes to run a business! It isn't that simple, but what would you know ….and YES people want to get compensated for their work! Do you work for free?? Oh, now that I think about it you must be a liberal, democrat, leftist who probably lives out of the government feed by ME every April 15th.

    12. Pingback: Obama Administration Glosses Over Key Concerns for Doctor Shortage | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    13. Pingback: Side Effects: Physician-Owned Hospitals Face New Regulations, Limits on Growth | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    14. Pingback: A Shortage of Doctors, Made Worse by ObamaCare | www.statehousecall.org

    15. Pingback: Top Ten Side Effects of 2010 | The Conservative Papers

    16. Diane W, USA says:

      Applicants are denied because, in general, young people who are "educated" by our public school system, run by the teachers' union, know less than we did in in the third grade. Do you want any one of them to be your doctor?

    17. Pingback: Top Ten Side Effects of 2010 | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.


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