Taking Back America!
Last year, former Gov. Mitt Romney’s law mandating universal health insurance coverage took effect in MA, and some 340,000 of the state’s estimated 600,000 uninsured now have coverage. The downside - which The New York Times laughably calls “an unintended consequence” - is prolonged Canadian-style waits to see a doctor. The problem isn’t just more people trying to see doctors instead of going to the ER, it’s also a shortage of primary care physicians:
In pockets of the United States, rural and urban, a confluence of market and medical forces has been widening the gap between the supply of primary care physicians and the demand for their services. Modest pay, medical school debt, an aging population and the prevalence of chronic disease have each played a role.
Now in Massachusetts, in an unintended consequence of universal coverage, the imbalance is being exacerbated by the state’s new law requiring residents to have health insurance. …
Physicians are now seeing four to six new patients a day, up from one or two a year ago.
Dr. Patricia A. Sereno, state president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said an influx of the newly insured to her practice in Malden, just north of Boston, had stretched her daily caseload to as many as 22 to 25 patients, from 18 to 20 a year ago. To fit them in, Dr. Sereno limits the number of 45-minute physicals she schedules each day, thereby doubling the wait for an exam to three months.
“It’s a recipe for disaster,” Dr. Sereno said. “It’s great that people have access to health care, but now we’ve got to find a way to give them access to preventive services. The point of this legislation was not to get people episodic care.”
To solve the problem, state legislators are considering a law “to forgive medical school debt for those willing to practice primary care in underserved areas,” reports The Times. So to deal with this all-too-predictable consequence of state-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized healthcare coverage, taxpayers will now also have to subsidize medical school for scores of students. And so it goes …