Friday, July 10, 2009

Doctor Shorts

Bigger government. Tax the rich. Tax health insurance premiums. Tax liquor. Tax snack food. Tax tobacco.

All in the name of free health care for everyone.

Sounds wonderful.

At least to some.

According to the Dallas News, it appears there is a hitch in Obamaman's lofty plans.

Since 1997, U.S. medical school graduates in family medicine and general internal medicine programs have fallen by nearly 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This doesn't bode well when you want to throw 46 million new folks into the mix who suddenly have free health care and plan on using it.

Six-figure medical school debt, the desire for a better lifestyle and regular work hours persuade an increasing number of students to specialize.

"I work 65 hours a week," (family physician) Walton said. "If I worked 55 hours I wouldn't make any money."

Walton, who sees 23 patients a day, said much of his time is spent away from patients studying their medical records for better care and handling business-related matters.
And so many think docs have an easy life.

According to Merritt, Hawkins and Associates (a Texas physician placement firm) the average PCP (primary care physician) earns $171,000.

At least they will be part of the middle class who won't see their taxes increase under the Obama administration.

General practitioners tend to see a larger percentage of Medicaid patients, requiring more paperwork for reimbursements. North Texas physicians have reported that in many cases Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor, reimburses only 40 percent of what private insurers will pay.

The state Legislature in May approved a $2.5 billion increase in general revenue funds to cover Medicaid's projected cost increases and caseload growth, but no money was allocated for payment rate increases for physicians or dentists.
More work for less pay. That's the way the government likes to do things.

"I don't see where all these people are going to get their primary care," Buck said. "There aren't enough of us in the pipeline. Everyone won't have a chance to be able to look at a doctor in the face."
Free health care for everyone does not guarantee access to health care.
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