By Jonathan W. Emord
(June 18, 2010)
Originally appearing at HealthNewsDigest.com
Combine the shortage of physicians with the explosion in demand and you have the makings of a disaster characteristic of countries around the world where socialized medicine reigns, including the need to get in a cue for care, rationed services and equipment, and the demise of patient-
Many Americans who are not presently insured rely on self-
At the same time, fee caps common in Medicare billing will now reach almost all services. Those caps already force physicians and hospitals to limit time with patients, cut services, avoid provision of premium care in favor of unquestionably Medicare covered care, and lose opportunities for more lucrative patient interactions. As fee caps become common for all services, physicians and hospitals will experience a financial squeeze to a degree previously unknown. As insurance companies, serving as proxies for the federal government, exert even more pressure on physicians by second-
The economics of providing medical care will worsen for those who provide it, reducing their enthusiasm for working in the profession and enhancing the value of alternative occupations. Many already fed up with the amount of regulation and the degree of limitation on billing imposed by the federal government will leave the profession. Thus, many more physicians will choose other lines of work or will enter early retirement rather than cope with low profits, huge administrative demands, and less freedom to exercise independent professional judgment. This will add to the presently anticipated physician shortage.
Moreover, prospective medical students will see their bright futures in medicine dim and will choose other professions free of profit limits, regulatory oversight, and constrictions on professional judgment. As the opportunity for profit in the medical profession goes down and the need to devote far more time to regulatory compliance increases, many bright young people will go where income potential is greater and regulation less.
The health care law thus creates the makings of a perfect storm. Demand for medical care will grow enormously. The anticipated shortage of health care providers will worsen considerably. The dreaded cues of patients, rationed services and equipment, and replacement of bureaucratized care for patient-
To be insured by force of law is not to be insured against disease, insured to receive timely medical care, or insured to receive proper medical care. The President and Congress have just sacrificed freedom for government control, and we are about to see in a direct and personal way the consequences of that evil bargain.