Health reform means fewer doctors
If Obamacare becomes law, about 30 percent of the primary care doctors in America will consider leaving the medical profession.
That bit of brightness comes from a survey by The Medicus Firm, the results of which were posted by The New England Journal of Medicine. Medicus interviewed more than a thousand American physicians, and 55 percent of them believe the quality of medical care in America will decline if the Democrats pass the current health care reform proposals. Apparently, many of them want no part of it.
Although the media largely ignored the Medicus study, the story is huge. Perhaps as many as 30 million more Americans may have access to health insurance. The question is: Who will treat them?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent increase in practicing physicians over the next decade. But that will not be enough to treat the universal health care crush, especially if a bunch of doctors now on the job pack it in.
There are essentially two reasons why Obamacare nauseates some doctors. First, control. Medical people simply do not want federal pinheads telling them how to treat their patients. The medical profession attracts intelligent, assertive people who are motivated to help others. This is not a docile crowd.
Second, money. Right now, many doctors are already seeing too many patients in order to pay the bills and provide a decent living for their families. Obamacare does nothing to bring down the outrageous expense of medical malpractice insurance, and it is likely to cut Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.
Doctors can do the math. Their expenses remain high; their incomes decline. Again, these are smart people who could make good money doing something else.
In Canada and Great Britain, where socialized medicine is practiced, it is difficult to actually see a doctor in some places. Instead, nurses, physician assistants and other medical personnel fill the need. That is what could happen in the United States if the feds begin calling the health care shots.
Not since the Iraq war has America been so divided on an issue. Yes, ideology is playing a part. Conservatives despise government intrusion in the marketplace, but liberals love it. Right now, however, most polls show that the majority has turned on Obamacare. The latest Wall Street Journal poll, for example, found 48 percent opposing and just 36 percent supporting.
Here's my question: What would Marcus Welby, M.D., and Dr. Kildare say? These guys usually had the answers, back when wise doctors were the subjects of TV programs and health care seemed to be a glamorous profession.
Would Ben Casey support Obamacare? We know the "M*A*S*H" guys would. Dr. Jekyll might like it, but Mr. Hyde? I don't know.
What I do know is that many Americans are sick of the whole health care thing. And no prescription on earth will change that.