Monday, November 15, 2010

Comin' up short

Supply and demand can be a real, um...bear. A major goal of ObamaCare© is to provide health insurance to more people. This may or may not be a laudable goal, but it's a pretty naive one. When more people are insured, there is a greater demand for medical services.

But is there an ample supply to meet those increased needs?

Short answer: No.

According to Dr Mark Siegel, a professor of medicine and Doctor Radio's medical director, "(t)here is a new disease spreading like a cancer in doctors' offices and hospitals throughout the U.S. ... Doctor Unavailability Syndrome (DUS). It is characterized by a rising shortage of doctors, both specialists and primary care, as well as the growing inability of the doctors we do have to take care of patient needs."

It's a point that can't be made enough: what good is a new insurance policy if you can't find a provider that will accept it?

And DUS is quickly getting worse, spreading to, of all places, Scranton, PA. There, the Catholic Church plans to sell off three hospitals, at least in part as a result of ObamaCare©. Remember, these kinds of hospitals generally represent the last, best hope for inner city medical care.

And lest one believe that gummint-run health insurance is exempt from the foibles of the marketplace, think again:

"Bauserman ... insured by a Medicaid managed health care plan ... says she had trouble finding an orthopedist in her plan who would see her ... Primary care physicians in the area say a shortage of specialists in Medicaid managed-care networks makes it difficult sometimes to refer patients."

That's because, just like "regular" insurers, Medicaid relies on networks of providers to help manage claims costs. Unfortunately, the kinds of specialists who accept Medicaid patients (and the below-par reimbursements that come with them) are few and far between. And it's going to get worse: "In many cases, Medicaid recipients will be required by their states to enroll in managed-care plans."

Told ya so.
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