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View Full Version : Obama Your health care is covered, but who's going to treat you?


petegz28
06-30-2012, 08:52 PM
Your health care is covered, but who's going to treat you?

(CNN) -- When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, the American Medical Association was quick to release a statement in support of the "historic" decision that will give more people access to health coverage.

But (and there's always a "but") medical professionals across the country are wondering: When an additional 32 million Americans get medical insurance, who exactly is going to treat them?

"We've expressed some concerns before about whether or not we're going to have enough physicians out there," AMA President-Elect Ardis Hoven said.

They have good reason to worry. When Thailand enacted the "30-bhat scheme" in 2002, requiring all patients to be covered by health insurance, 14 million people were added to the country's health care system. The result was longer waits at the doctor's office and complaints of subpar service.










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A physician shortage in the U.S. was expected even before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Now the group estimates that there will be a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015 and 130,600 by 2025.

The shortage is a result of several factors. A large number of medical professionals are reaching retirement age, as is a large group of patients: Nearly 15 million will become eligible for Medicare in the coming years, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports.

On top of that, there is a lack of residency spots available for students graduating from medical school. In 2011, more than 7,000 were left with degrees that said "M.D." but no place to continue their education, according to the National Residency Matching Program.

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Many residency spots are funded by Medicare, and there's a cap on the number a hospital can claim each year. That number, about 100,000, has remained steady since 1997. While the Affordable Care Act will redistribute some unused residency slots and increase funding for the National Health Service Corps, more needs to be done, advocates say.

"There will be real physician shortages if we don't do more to lift the residency cap," said Dr. Atul Grover, the Association of American Medical Colleges' chief advocacy officer, in a statement. "People on both sides of the aisle have realized the need to train more doctors."

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The biggest scarcity will be in primary-care physicians, Hoven said, thanks to better insurance coverage for preventative care.

"I would like to note that these are not newly appeared patients," she said. "They've been in emergency rooms, for things that are not necessarily an emergency. It's going to be a reshuffling of where they get their care and when they get their care."

This, of course, is a good thing, Hoven said. Doctors will be able to detect diseases earlier and focus on wellness, which in turn might lower health care costs. But that will require more internists, ob/gyns and pediatricians -- at a time when many private practices are struggling to stay afloat financially.

Nurses would be a perfect fit to handle the increase in preventative medicine practices, said registered nurse Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association. Nursing's holistic approach focuses on wellness and community-based health needs.

Unfortunately, America has been talking about the nation's nursing shortage since the early 2000s, and the numbers haven't improved.

"We're going to be facing serious shortages unlike anything we've ever seen in the next decade," Daley said.

The American Nurses Association was a staunch supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and the group wrote a brief in support of the legislation. Even if it's not a perfect law, Daley said, there are several important protections that have been put in place, protections that will give access to millions who otherwise might have avoided care.

But, there's always a "but."

"This is going to have to be a system that, in order to be effective, is going to have to be able to meet demands for the work force. We need more resources to provide more access."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/29/health/doctor-shortage-affordable-care-act/index.html

AustinChief
06-30-2012, 09:05 PM
"I would like to note that these are not newly appeared patients," she said. "They've been in emergency rooms, for things that are not necessarily an emergency. It's going to be a reshuffling of where they get their care and when they get their care."


It's idiotic wrongheaded thinking like this that amazes me. Seriously? There won't be MORE patients with everyone covered by insurance of some kind? If anyone believes this, they are beyond stupid. Does this moron honestly believe that EVERY uninsured person is abusing the ER? Does he not grasp how many people will go to the doctor for every little thing when they don't have to worry about cost since they HAVE to have insurance anyway. Just plain stupid.

petegz28
06-30-2012, 09:08 PM
It's idiotic wrongheaded thinking like this that amazes me. Seriously? There won't be MORE patients with everyone covered by insurance of some kind? If anyone believes this, they are beyond stupid.

Actually I think she has a point to a degree. People who weren't covered were going to the emergency room for non-emergencies. Now they will go to the doctor. So, you do have an offset there but the part she overlooks is now you will have people going to the doctor more often than they were going to the emergency room. So while the number of people may offset the number of office visits will most likely increase.

AustinChief
06-30-2012, 09:27 PM
Actually I think she has a point to a degree. People who weren't covered were going to the emergency room for non-emergencies. Now they will go to the doctor. So, you do have an offset there but the part she overlooks is now you will have people going to the doctor more often than they were going to the emergency room. So while the number of people may offset the number of office visits will most likely increase.

That offset is MINISCULE.

While the past decade has seen dramatic increases in the use of emergency care and ER crowding, ER care is but a tiny portion of the U.S. health care pie: less than 3 percent. The claim that unnecessary visits are clogging the emergency care system is also untrue: Just 12 percent of ER visits are not urgent. People also tend to think ER visits cost far more than primary care, but even this is disputable. In fact, the marginal cost of treating less acute patients in the ER is lower than paying off-hours primary care doctors, as ERs are already open 24/7 to handle life-threatening emergencies. And while we're at it, let's dispel one other myth: Despite the belief that the uninsured and undocumented flood ERs, most emergency room patients are insured U.S. citizens.

FD
07-01-2012, 01:30 AM
Sounds like most of the problem is this residency cap. Who is responsible for it, the AMA or the federal government? I think currently the AMA has way too much power as a cartel to limit the number of people practicing medicine, keeping costs high.

banyon
07-01-2012, 04:16 PM
this sounds like it is related to the baby boom retirement more than anything else...