Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1 + 1 = 0

As we've long since noted, one of the (unintended?) effects of ObamaCare© is a shortage of physicians. As we reported last month, "40% of doctors said they would "retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care." Dr Bradley Wertheim, looking at the facts through a slightly different lens, finds that new physician training standards will exacerbate the problem:

"[S]taffing requirements further underpin the argument for 30-hour shifts and 80-hour workweeks. The problem is simple: We have too many patients and too few doctors."

In a related development, FoIB Holly R tipped us to news on the doctor-owned hospital front. Previously, we reported that the "health care overhaul law closes the door on future physician-owned hospitals;" Holly's link expands on that point:

"The construction of physician-owned hospitals, which has been halted or jeopardized due to Section 6001 of healthcare reform, could have provided $200 million in tax revenue and 30,000 jobs to local communities ..."

The point is that it's not just the doc's who are affected by this, but the architects, contractors, carpenters, plumbers ... well, you get the picture. It's a very expensive ripple effect. And it affects us health care consumers, as well: fewer hospitals means less competition, and thus higher prices. And, of course, higher health care costs means higher health insurance costs.

And it's not just those direct costs that matter. According to the Physician Hospitals of America, "physician owned hospitals pour millions into local businesses, collectively spending $4.2 billion per year, or $15 million for every community that has" one. That's a lot of economic impact, now frittered away.
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