When Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently addressed a crowd of health policy experts about the issues surrounding the nation’s physician shortage, she had the opportunity to highlight the fundamental problems doctors have been shouting about, like medical malpractice reform.
Alas, she mostly stuck to the tired talking points that more primary-care physicians would flock to the profession if there were only more preventive services, more health information technology and better coordination of chronic diseases.
That’s not to knock any of those measures, but they fail to address the disincentives that Heritage health experts say will drive more general doctors out of their practice. Instead, analysts have urged Congress and the Obama Administration to deal with:
• Doctors’ fears about medical malpractice lawsuits that has resulted in excessive use of medical tests
• Physicians’ insecurity of taking on any Medicare patients because of Congress’ failure to present a long-term solution to the coming payment cuts
• Their loss of entrepreneurial opportunities because ObamaCare kills the creation of new physician-owned hospital
These issues come on top of a recent health industry report that 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 flooding the health care market with the passage of ObamaCare, primarily those becoming enrolled in the Medicaid program.