“Just the Facts …” – Health Insurance Reform Will Cause A Doctor Shortage?

Every day brings a new issue meant to undermine the Health Insurance Reform bill passed last week. AP raised a doctor shortage over the weekend in scary terms and now that has found an echo chamber in its syndication in under staffed local papers and Republican strategy rooms:

“Better beat the crowd and find a doctor.”

The implication being that Reform, not already predicted issues were causing this shortfall, including a small thing called “Aging Boomers”, expanding lifetimes etc. is the culprit.

I’d like to ask a few obvious questions here to test this supposition:

  • Insurance vs. Care – now the reform bill will get 32 million people insured. Have these folks not been getting care somewhere already? How about:
    • Emergency rooms
    • Pro bono care
    • Convenient care clinics
    • Free clinics etc.
  • How many of these folks have not been getting any care? Not many, just at the expense of the rest of us at emergency rooms.

So getting insurance can channel these folks to better alternatives  – like convenient care clinics and others that will evolve -and the doctors at these other options will be available as well to everyone.

Yes, we have an impending doctor shortage that has been predicted for years. If not for foreign doctors, many who are Indian – who make up nearly 25% of all US physicians -we would already have a major shortage.

One issue for non US nationals is that with medical tourism exploding, and national economies booming in places like India there are opportunities to return to their home country and practice in world class facilities near friends and family.

This issue is at least as acute for nurses as well.

Nothing to do with Health Insurance Reform and every thing to do with globalization.

These facts are really tough things to address. Rather than trying to scare people news organizations like AP actually should do some real digging and educate us all on the root issues of an issue like this rather than try to sensationalize it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Healthcare, Healthcare Insurers, Healthcare Reform

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