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Docs Brace For Surge In Patients With Obama-Care

From Bloomberg:

Doctors Brace for Health Law’s Surge of Ailing Patients

By Stephanie Armour | September 23, 2013

… About 25 million Americans are expected to gain coverage under the health law, commonly known as Obamacare. Starting Oct. 1, as many as 7 million uninsured Americans will begin shopping for private plans through government-run exchanges, with many people eligible to have their premiums subsidized by taxpayers…

The increase in newly insured patients arrives at a time when the nation has 15,230 fewer primary-care doctors than it needs, according to an Aug. 28 assessment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And emergency rooms report being strained with visits that have risen at twice the rate of population growth.

But we were told Obama-Care was going to reduce the number of people seeking treatment at ERs. Were we lied to?

“It’s like we’re handing out bus tickets and the bus is already full,” said Perry Pugno, vice president for medical education at the American Academy of Family Physicians, by telephone. “The shortfall of primary-care access is not an insignificant problem, and it’s going to get worse.” …

More demand may lead to months-long waits to see doctors, delays in finding specialists, and strains on hospitals and outpatient clinics, others said…


Ensuring patient access is critical to the Affordable Care Act’s success: if the newly insured swamp the medical system, it could hand critics pushing to derail the law another argument to fray public support…

Imagine people being unhappy just because they have to pay more for less access to medical care.

Massachusetts pioneered health reform in 2006 when it enacted near universal coverage under then governor Mitt Romney. Community health centers and hospitals that care for a larger share of lower-income residents saw a 12 percent jump in patient volume from 2009 to 2010, with almost 100,000 more visits to safety net hospitals during that time, according to a 2012 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

David Longworth, chairman of the Medicine Institute at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, was working in Massachusetts when the state passed near universal health coverage. “Practices closed and patients would wait for eight to nine months to get in,” Longworth said by telephone. “We overwhelmed the primary care health system.”

Funny how we never heard about this until now.

In cities such as Lawrence, Massachusetts, a former textile city that has long been home to a large immigrant community, doctors have coped with rising volume…

Er, we’re supposed to be pretending that illegal aliens won’t get Obama-Care.

The percentage of family doctors in the state accepting new patients has dropped 19 percent in the past seven years and the percentage of internists accepting new patients has fallen 21 percent over nine years, according to a July report by the Massachusetts Medical Society, an advocacy group for patients and physicians. Only about half of family doctors were accepting new patients this year.

Again, why haven’t we heard about this before?

The Cleveland Clinic predicts as many as 90,000 new patients in northeast Ohio if everyone signs up for coverage. The health system is working to ramp up its primary care practices in anticipation…

By laying off nurses and doctors.

Exciting Challenge

On a recent Friday morning at the Holy Cross clinic in Aspen Hill, [Maryland, the center’s medical director Elise] Riley donned a white coat and prepared to see patients. While there may be more patients under reform, Riley said an increase in business will be welcome.

“I’ve very excited,” Riley said. “It’s frustrating to see diseases that could have been prevented,” she said in an interview in her office…

Oh, it’s going to be very exciting. Especially, for the poor slobs who pay have to pay more for their health insurance, and pay higher taxes to pay for other people’s health insurance, who will also get to wait longer for worse medical care.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Docs Brace For Surge In Patients With Obama-Care”

  1. Petronius says:

    I’ve cut a sweetheart deal with the local veterinarian.

    Sent him a motorcycle for his birthday and a 20-lbs. turkey and a crate of Florida grapefruit for Thanksgiving.

    Not enough baksheesh to get me to the front of the line, but I’m nearly in the top ten.

  2. Noyzmakr says:

    How long will it be before president dumbo claims it’s all Romney’s fault?

  3. bousquem25 says:

    I live in MA and I can tell you it can be a PITA to get a new primary care doc sometimes. Thankfully I’ve had the same one but alot of them aren’t accepting new patients or no new medicaid patients which is basically what the subsidized plans in the state are. They’re all a form of masshealth-lite (masshealth is the state’s term for their medicaid program) and the docs aren’t taking new patients because the state doesn’t like to pay on time and more importantly doesn’t pay squat for their services. Try getting a specialist to see someone with masshealth can be an exercise in frustration for providers who are stuck calling around to find someone they can refer the patient to. Trying to get in to see my PCP takes forever and usually any calls to them about being sick just have you being told to head to the ER. Phsyicals are being booked 6-8 months out in alot of cases and that’s just sad.

    There was also a recent article in a local paper about the physician shortage in MA and comparing the eastern part of the state and western mass.It basically was going off of a survey about finding a doctor and if the doctors in the area though there were enough docs in the area. The eastern part of the state thought they needed more but not too bad. The western part of the state was a struggle just to find applicants with the Berkshires being nearly impossible to find doctors to practice there. The article basically explained this as medicaid and medicare doesn’t pay squat and the insurances keep cutting their rates of reimbursment that now its not economically fesible to run their own practices and so are joining hospitals and large practices. But they weren’t getting paid well because of the cuts to reimbursments to providers from medicaid and that’s the primary insurance for alot of people in the area. The doctors were coming out of school with a ton of student loan debt and couldn’t afford to pay their rates and make a living with what was being offered by the local groups.

    • canary says:

      bousqeum25 the shortage, the medical students broke, and more.

      The turning over to computer record keeping is getting patients killed already, so that won’t get better.
      Is it me or did the flu shot double in the last couple of years?
      Obama forced scripts to go up in cost.
      And the federal govt is going to tax medical equipment 3% and that’s just the beginning.
      With insurance already having gone up, doubling deductibles and co pay, what makes anyone think the new insurance companies are going to be cheap

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