Here at PRN, we’ve done our best to document how Obamacare is killing the greatest healthcare system in the world. Well here’s yet another example: there aren’t enough doctors to cover its mandates.
As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama’s healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients.
Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare.
They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.
"We’re going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance," said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. "What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?"
Hernandez’s proposed changes, which would dramatically shake up the medical establishment in California, have set off a turf war with physicians that could contribute to the success or failure of the federal Affordable Care Act in California.
Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, they said.
"Patient safety should always trump access concerns," said Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Assn.
Such “scope-of-practice” fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems. About 350 laws altering what health professionals may do have been enacted nationwide in the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since Jan. 1, more than 50 additional proposals have been launched in 24 states.
Obamacare forces “free citizens” to get health insurance with no regard to one of the obvious consequences: Doctor shortages. And when elected officials are forced to finally face this reality, their solution is not to repeal the ridiculous mandate, but to redefine what it means to be a doctor. It’s surreal.
This proves two things (other than that Obamacare is awful in general):
1) When people have insurance, many times they go to the doctor when they don’t need to. It’s one of the reasons insurance is so expensive to begin with. If, say, I had hotel insurance, you can bet that I wouldn’t be staying in the Red Roof Inn. I’d be staying at the Ritz Carlton. The same thing is true for health insurance. A young, healthy person may choose not to have insurance, which will dissuade them from going to the doctor every time they sneeze. But if they have health insurance, why not go?
2) By redefining what it means to be a doctor, government officials are recognizing one of the major flaws of the legislation. I doubt they would admit this, but what other conclusion can one draw?