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July 10 2012

Obamacare and the Disappearing Doctors

Charlotte Hays

You may one day find yourself insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—aka Obamacare. But that doesn't mean you're going to get the appropriate medical care. Indeed, you may be asking yourself, "Where have all the doctors gone?"

As reported on the Daily Caller, a survey by a nonpartisan medical association indicates that Obamacare may actually reduce the number of doctors available to the public:

Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.

The survey was conducted by fax between April 18 and May 22. Faxes were sent to 36,000 physicians and replies were received from 16, 227. The general conclusions included almost unanimous agreement that medicine is on the wrong track and that government-imposed solutions are destined to fail.

Interestingly, most doctors in the survey think that direct payments by patients would be a good idea—such a practice would force patients to make choices about their medical care. This is the opposite of the direction in which Obamacare takes us. A strong majority—65 percent—viewed the government as the cause of much that is wrong in modern medicine.

An excerpt:

One respondent from Missouri writes: “Medicine is no longer about treating and taking care of patients. I spend more time telling patients about additional paperwork they need to fill out.”

Doctors largely blame their loss of control over their practices for that declining relationship, as 9 out of 10 say they have LESS autonomy than they expected to have when they started practicing. “Get back to the doctor patient relationship. Eliminate all the middle men parasites” (Family Practice, AZ)

One respondent, a doctor who is married to a doctor, said that she would not encourage her children to become doctors. These conditions suggest that there will be far fewer doctors in the future. The Daily Caller notes: 

“Doctors clearly understand what Washington does not — that a piece of paper that says you are ‘covered’ by insurance or ‘enrolled’ in Medicare or Medicaid does not translate to actual medical care when doctors can’t afford to see patients at the lowball payments, and patients have to jump through government and insurance company bureaucratic hoops,” she said

A parallel is in order: yesterday, we noted on Inkwell that the EPA has approved a 15 percent ethanol solution for immediate sale in the nation’s gas stations. On paper, this is great for the environmental movement. In reality, E15, as the product is known, may damage car engines.

An insurance card may enlarge the pool of people who have—well—insurance cards. But, with a decline in the number of people willing to go into medicine, that card is going to be about as useful as a fossil fuel substitute that ruins your car.
 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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