Health reform to worsen doctor shortage: group

Comments (78)
AnnieP1 wrote:

“The U.S. healthcare reform law will worsen a shortage of physicians as millions of newly insured patients seek care”

That’s only half of it. I can’t tell you all the physicians I know who are planning to retire or simply get out of the profession just as soon as they can.

Sep 30, 2010 6:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
shoehorn wrote:

there would be more doctors if they shortened the amount of time needed to become a doctor. wouldn’t you agree if they made a doctoral degree obtainable within 6-7 years there wouldn’t be so much a shortage?

Sep 30, 2010 6:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sirandrew wrote:

When the Government specifies what a doctor will be reimbursed for treatment,and that rate will be less than the cost of doing the treatment,most doctors will refuse to treat that patient.The next obvious step by the Obama socialists/Marxist will be an edict forcing the Doctors to treat that patient. If Doctors cannot make a decent living, why practice medicine.

Sep 30, 2010 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Regulas1 wrote:

Not to mention the doctors that will quit.

Sep 30, 2010 7:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dan4A wrote:

How can we possibly have a doctor shortage when U.S. doctors have more than enough time to perform breast implants, tummy tucks, nose jobs, facelifts, labiaplasties, and more than 1 million infant circumcisions each year in this country. Maybe, we need to train doctors who will commit to practicing real medicine.

Sep 30, 2010 7:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

This article is accurate, however as another post indicated, this tells only part of the story. This is assuming that all existing practicing doctors will continue to practice. Clearly Doctors are already swamped by their existing patient base (often providing for 2,000 to 3,000 patient base). The problem NOT mentioned is that many of these doctors will not only retire or jump out due to frustration, but many are changing their practice to “boutique” medicine. My last two doctors have already left traditional medicine and started boutique practices, where you have to pay a fee and you get personal service. Basically they are out of the doctor pool. This will be very popular choice for doctors who do not want to add 32 million patients onto their already overcrowded patient base. This boutique medicine is where you have to pay a couple grand a year to the doctor, and they drastically limit the number of patients to a few hundred. You get personal service (supposedly). The point is, Obama takes tens of millions of uninsured and throws them into an already fragile health system, without planning on the repercussions. Yes, we had the worst system other than all the others in the world. Obama want to make his mark and be a “good” one term president. Best of luck dealing with the cleanup and the lack of foresight. Condolences to the future generations.

Sep 30, 2010 7:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
thamnosma wrote:

Even my HMO doc wants out. She says the feds’ eyes are on them all the time, massive paperwork, taking the joy out of the profession. One has to wonder how many young people will simply choose to do something else. Why go into massive debt, take years of training only to face the likes of Obama and Pelosi?

Sep 30, 2010 7:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kgd wrote:

the smartest and most talented people will turn towards different fields- medicine is becoming too much of a sacrifice..

Sep 30, 2010 8:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ncpg wrote:

Obamacare chickens are coming home to roost.

Sep 30, 2010 8:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
vwburke wrote:

The health care reform law will also increase wait times in the Emergency Departments. There will be now more people on state Medicaid due to if the family has low income, they have to be placed on Medicaid. What I see every day is that Medicaid providers are underpaid and overworked so when their patients call in for appointments, they are given date 2-3 months away, so the patient goes to the local Emergency Department for care. So things won’t be good for those seeking Emergency Care for true medical emergencies. Nurse Practitioners will have an opportunity to increase their visibilty due to increase utilization in primary care clinics and emergency departments.

Sep 30, 2010 9:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cccubed wrote:

I have been notified by my HSA account management company that beginning in 2011 I will no longer be able to use my HSA Visa/debit card to pay on the spot for OTC medications and that a doctor’s prescription will be required in order to be reimbursed for any OTC medication expenses. Are you kidding me?! Do you realize just how greatly this will burden an already over-burdened physician’s practice — whether actually seeing patients in order to get a scrip for something basic like cough or allergy meds, or subjecting the physician’s office staff to call in scrips for these requests?? I work in the medical device industry and can tell you that the more you burden the office staff or the surgeon in his clinical setting, the less happy he is and the more complicated his life!

Sep 30, 2010 9:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lt_Scrounge wrote:

Why bother becoming a doctor when you can become and attorney with less schooling, fewer student loans, NO malpractice insurance payments, no killing yourself to get into or stay in a residency or internship program and make more money suing doctors than becoming one?

The system WAS reasonably fixable. Obamacare did exactly the opposite of what needed to be done. There was a much better plan out there, but Obama (and the trial lawyers)won the election.

Limit lawsuits (this reduces Doctors’ operating expenses and allows them to charge less)

Reduce mandated coverages (allow people to buy (and pay for) the coverages that they need, not what the government says they have to buy. I’m not an alcoholic, drug addict, or insane but I have to pay for coverage for in patient treatment for each of these conditions because Congress says so.)

Allow people to form their own low risk groups and buy insurance as a group such as a college alumni organization.

Allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines thereby increasing competition and forcing prices down.

EDUCATE people as to how insurance works, and why high deductible policies, combined with health savings accounts actually are far better than low deductible policies.

Sep 30, 2010 10:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ksammut wrote:

The story does not note that 51% of graduating medical students are women. Due to family needs or simply personal choice, many work just part-time when they finish their Residencies or Fellowships. A surprising percentage retire at a very young age to devote their time to their family.

More newly trained male physicians and surgeons have no desire to see the amount of patients, in a day, that previous generations of physicians and surgeons would see. Their goal is to create a balance between family and their practice. It was not too long ago that physicians and surgeons would sacrifice their family needs and put their practices first and work 14 to 16 hour days. A good number of these physicians, who devoted their lives to their profession, are fed up and not waiting until they are 65 to retire.

When determining what the real shortage number is, you have to determine whether or not each physician represents a FTE (full time) or a percentage of a FTE. The shortage numbers will be much greater than the article suggests if you factor in the number of hours worked by a physician today and the amount of patients seen in a day by the average physician when compared to physicians 5, 10, or 15 years ago.

Then take a look and see that a good percentage of Americans are overweight causing multiple health issues, our population is growing and graying, and we are quick to call a physician when we think we are more sick than we really are. Now add in millions more who seek health care and it will become clear to everyone that there are not enough physicians to take care of the entire population – especially primary care physicians. Very few young people want to work the hours a Family Medicine Physician or an Internist has to work especially for the relatively low compensation they receive.

I have been recruiting doctors (for hospitals, groups, and academic institutions) for the past 26 years. I can remember back in the 1980s, the physician search industry was warning a severe physician shortage was coming. It is here and it is going to be worse than expected. Patients will have to get use to waiting weeks and sometimes months for an appointment.

Young people have more options today to earn a substantial income with a lot less stress than being a physician or a surgeon. If physician’s incomes fall even further due to government and insurance company’s lower reimbursement, the best and brightest may say it is not worth it and then you will really see a shortage.

Sep 30, 2010 10:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jeeper wrote:

Then there are the doctors that will stop working as soon as they hit their salary cap.

Sep 30, 2010 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
trajan2448 wrote:

What the idiot who wrote the article doesn’t mention is that many doctors are simply dropping out of the medicare and theinsurance system altogether because it doesn’t cover costs. THose costs have been raised dramatically by a very poor bill called Obamacare which requires billions to be spent on non medical bureaucrats to administer this disaster.

Sep 30, 2010 10:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
pashadear wrote:

This just opens up more opportunities for family and acute care nurse practitioners to fill those gaps. NPs are cheaper to educate and have equivalent if not more schooling than MDs. And, true to the income gap, are paid less than MDs also…

Sep 30, 2010 10:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

I’m in my 27th year of Family Practice and have seen an amazing amount of negative changes impacting the quality of care patient’s receive. New regulations each year from government bodies restrict our ability to care for patients. Both patient and physician are frustrated due to this interference. I will retire as soon as possible, saying goodbye to the profession I love.

Sep 30, 2010 11:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jubal wrote:

Would any of you work in a field where an uneducated bureaucrat had the authority to tell you how much you could earn, based upon his/her/its lack of experience?

Sep 30, 2010 11:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Observero0 wrote:

It’s most unfortunate our politicians took this “health care” approach. They took a system that need to be tweaked to reduce health care costs, improve health care, & improve access to health care & basically made it into a disaster by assuring mandated customers to the health insurance industry. Costs could have easily been reduced by increasing the number of doctors trained, providing a tax credit for health care maintenance costs (to include the health insurance premium), & encouraging primary care clinics. Certainly “hope” voters “change” the political lineup in upcoming Novembers so those that voted to enslave folk to the health insurance industry & turn our health care into a disaster are removed from office.

Sep 30, 2010 12:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BakoD wrote:

The majority of these posts seem to be by ignorant, uneducated right wingers. The medical community have been suffering at the hands of insurance companies for years. But really; joy of the profession? Are we really supposed to pity our doctors? I thought that was only reserved for tort reform.. Are they really going to need to cancel their country club membership? Start working five days a week? Buy a used Mercedes?

Sep 30, 2010 12:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Alyric wrote:

Oh, that won’t be a problem – take a closer look at the health care bill.

Somewhere in the 400’s (pages) of the bill, it establishes a medical draft. Yup, the government can draft you to be a doctor. For life – no choice.

The bill also provides measures that allow the government to dictate where doctors live and work – and as obscene as it may sound, how much they are permitted to own. You become a slave of the state – and yes, slavery is the only appropriate term.

It’s sad that it took us less than 140 years to bring it back.

Sep 30, 2010 12:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
melrose7 wrote:

Anyone who doesn’t understand that Pelosi’s heath”care” bill will destroy the quality of US medicine is a fool. Obama had nothing to do with it. He has nothing to do with ANYTHING the congress does. He is out of the loop, busy campaigning, vacationing, golfing. He’s the LOAFER-in-Chief and the biggest fool ever elected to office. Meanwhile, Pelosi and her hack Democrat scum destroy our country.

Sep 30, 2010 12:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
melrose7 wrote:

The ignorant and uneducated are the LEFT WINGERS, my dear! They HATE insurance companies, but put their faith in some hack bureaucrat who will decide what? Cancer treatment? I would trust any insurance company on earth sooner than a Washington hack Democrat with a pencil!

Sep 30, 2010 12:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kenjulco wrote:

I dont understand why a doctor cant charge a patient under medicare and then ask the patient for additional money [which is called a Gap in australa]?

Oct 01, 2010 1:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tomintx wrote:

I doubt that very many doctors over age 50 will continue working under Obamacare. Their workload will go up, their control of their practice will go down, as will their reimbursements.

Until the government decides to force doctors back into their offices at gunpoint, we will have a critical shortage of doctors.

Oct 01, 2010 1:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ObamaMama wrote:

Whatever happened to doctors actually caring about HELPING people instead of worrying about how much they’re gonna get paid? That’s the problem, everything boils down to the almighty dollar. Well, here’s a newsflash, lots of hard workers don’t get paid what they are worth (i.e. nurses, teachers, etc.). If people are only practicing medicine to “get paid” then I hope they do find another profession like in computers or something that doesn’t require much interaction with people. However, I’m not one to complain without offering a solution, unlike others have done. I would suggest that Obama really give these supposed “Doctors of Medicine”, who in reality are “Doctors of Money” something to think about. I say overhaul the whole damn system and make Nurse Practitioners the Primary Care Providers for all new patients entering into the healthcare system. It would be cheaper on the system to reimburse a NP for services than an M.D. In addition, patient satisfaction would probably be higher because nurses in general really do CARE and want to help the people they serve.

Oct 01, 2010 1:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ObamaMama wrote:

Hooray for Nurse Practitioners who are even more overworked and underpaid than the doctors who employ them. This may be a good opportunity for them since the doctors of today don’t seem to want to do their JOBS anymore, unless of course they are well paid. Imagine if other UNDERPAID professionals felt that way. What if teachers decided not to teach our children, or if nurses decided not to nurse the doctor’s sick patients because of low pay? Get it?

Oct 01, 2010 2:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dump_Congress wrote:

Shoehorn; perhaps you wouldn’t mind being operated on by a spine, vascular, or heart surgeon who got his degree online or by mail order and “sped through” med school on the “fast track.” I would. There’s a reason why it takes so long. It’s called “safety” and “experience.” Honestly, why would one want to become a doctor under those circumstances? Obviously, the tort law is not going to be dealt with in this bill or by these Washington idiots. So, speed your way through med school, kill some people by way of inexperience due to a reduced schedule, and get thrown out of the medical profession permanently with felony malpractice on your record. Probably would have a hard time even getting a job cleaning latrines after that.

Oct 01, 2010 3:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dump_Congress wrote:

Yeah, Dan. Those are all “money doctors.” They practice plastic surgery specialties, almost NONE of which are covered or reimbursed by insurance companies, but are paid for by their usually-rich clients in cash, and at market rates. They would be the first to leave the profession. I know your response would be “good”, then we can get the “moral” and “altruistic” doctors. Consider alternately that doctors often specialize not only because they are interested, but because they are good at the specialty. That takes YEARS of practice. Most of these guys are already dedicated beyond money. If they simply wanted to get rich, there are faster, more lucrative, and more predictable ways to do it. That’s why many of the brightest people in this country (US) go into business or the legal professions now. Potential surgeons can easily be washed out of a surgical specialty because they don’t have the “hands”, or tactile capability. What Obamacare does is to mandate a structure that calls for thousands of new clinicians…which we currently don’t have, and will not be able to create domestically in the time frame the bill calls for. Some might be lured from countries abroad, but that would entail inducements; little annoying ones like “higher pay.” One of the unintended consequences of this will be an eventual dearth (lack) of specialists who can literally keep people alive. Doctors such as those who have separated conjoined twins, for example. Another victim of Obamacare will be specialty research leading to cutting-edge cures. This bill is the most f’d up piece of legislation I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I’m not young. I also have read both the initial House bill (Waxman/Dingle) and the Senate Baucus bill, which was where Henry Reid’s bill was midwifed from. Pure insanity. Of course, none of them would know that, because none of them read it prior to voting on it. They all admitted that, including Baucus. It would have been too “time-consuming.”

Oct 01, 2010 4:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dump_Congress wrote:

BakoD; I guess I’ll respond…but I’m not going to change your mind, it’s frozen in your belief that everyone who argues with your position is a “right-winger.” I guess you can feel smug about your “raw intelligence” by casting an ad-hominem political attack against anyone who disagrees with you, even someone who is far more familiar with the medical profession than your post would indicate you are. Forget about politics and look at how humans behave and what motivates them. Why is more “gubmint” the solution for EVERY problem? BTW, I know quite a few clinicians who are dedicated, who care about their patients, and who work their butts off, as they did to get where they are. There. I buried the lead.

Oct 01, 2010 4:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
moose1553 wrote:

As a recently retired doc i have two comments:

1) DUH – everyone told congress this would be a major issue with adding 30 million and no new docs

2) Many of us retired or will as no malpractice (tort) reform and dropping reimbursement.

Totally predictable–our congresswoman Kathy Dalkemper would not even speak to physicians about the issue before she voted with Pelosi!

Oct 01, 2010 4:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Shuttle6 wrote:

Even though there is a shortage of cardiologists, the Medicare Administration severely cut their reimbursements last January then stopped paying them three times. This has led to major disruptions in practices. The idea is to drive them out of business. Few doctors=less access=lower costs. This is how rationing will be done.

Oct 01, 2010 5:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Shuttle6 wrote:

By taking the financial risk to open practices, doctors in tbis nation have provided outpatient health care access. Banks are now becomeing verty worried about the loans they have made to medical groups. Most doctors are small businessmen. They pay rent, mortgages, staff salaries,insurance, etc, like any other small businessman. Those doctors who see the most Medicare patients like oncologists and cardiologists – saw their reimbursements severely cut in January, which was then followed by three payment freezes. Many of these practices are struggling to avoid bankruptcy. Perople who have never run a medical practice are calling the shots. You cannot substitute a nurse practioner for a cardiologist. It takes seven years beyond medical school to learn the specialty. No one will do it when reimbursements are so low. The idea is to get rid of cardiologists. Fewer cardiologists, less access, lower costs. This is how rationing will be done. Patients will suffer and some will die because of waiting.

Oct 01, 2010 5:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rabiddog9 wrote:

Years of training…massive debt…..lost youth….Underpayment…cynical,spoiled,ungrateful patients…sure, why not , sounds great.

Oct 01, 2010 6:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rabiddog9 wrote:

Sorry to open up this can of worms, nurse practitioners, who are generally nice folks, don’t have the depth of training and experience to do what some of you are suggesting they be allowed to do….I’m sorry but I see this every day. Hate me if you wish but those are the facts. We are not talking plumbing or brake and alignment jobs here after all. I suppose this misconception is understandable since most people are appallingly ignorant about the complexity of their own anatomy not to mention physiology and pathology and medicine in general. Sorry to rain on the parade.

Oct 01, 2010 7:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Panmumu wrote:

Already Doctors are disappearing, during the 1990’s and 2000’s mid level students who would have gone into medicine went into MBA, and you see how that worked out.

Oct 01, 2010 7:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
casca wrote:

NP’s have better training than MD’s ????!!!!
They have HALF the training of the least trained doctor. The hospitals love them because they pay them less, that’s all. Want your baby delivered by someone with 12 years of training or 6? NP’s are very poor at diagnosising problems- they do fine when they already know whats going on.

Oct 01, 2010 8:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bubba1st wrote:

I recently read a book that described this situation exactly – ANATHEMA, America’s War on Medicine, by Michael Pryce, MD. Slashing of reimbursements, soaring insurance costs, denial of claims, etc. This is what Obamacare is all about – control.

Oct 01, 2010 8:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JoJo2010 wrote:

The only people that didnt see this coming were those stupid enough to vote for Barry to begin with, and the manipulative Dems that knew it would happen and provide a path to a single payer system that screws everyone.

Oct 01, 2010 8:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
astralweeks wrote:

Rationed health care? You betcha. You and your family members can make a dead pool to see which relative will be the first to die through inadequate health care courtesy of hopey changiness.

Oct 01, 2010 8:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Blizzardlover wrote:

Simply solution: add more medical schools.

Oct 01, 2010 9:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jstaf wrote:

People that are blaming Obama for the mess need to look west, California and their misguiding HMO system swept the nation and jacked the cost up at an amazing rate.

Add to this Big Pharma pushing pills that make heroin look like aspirin and doctors insisting that a million a year isn’t enough.

Many people go to doctors like barbers or hair stylists, put down the pizza, get off the couch and stop expecting Obama to save your fat ass.

Oct 01, 2010 9:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LeftofCenter wrote:

This article is just more propoganda for right-wingers to instill fear into people. There is still PLENTY of money to be made in medicine and doctors are always in demand. These reasons will attract plenty of capable young men and women to the medical profession.

Oct 01, 2010 9:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
4Deuce wrote:

Dan4A: When you write: “Maybe, we need to train doctors who will commit to practicing real medicine.” I find myself cringing. WHat’s next Dan – telling people where they must live, how many bedrooms their home can have, what car they must drive, what occupation to perform – or how about telling them which party they must vote for? I do believe you are residing in the wrong country and need ot find one more accomodating to your way of viewing society. Based on yur views, Cuba comes to mind as an ideal destination foir you. Say Hi to Fidel for me willya?

Oct 01, 2010 9:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
orangemtl wrote:

The AAMC is missing the point: or, more precisely, restating the point to its own narrow advantage, not surprisingly. Their goal is to increase enrollment. Why? Because medical students bring tuition and grants. They could care less if they graduate flying monkeys: so long as they graduate more of them.
The shortage is going to result from people like ME: trained, experienced medical specialists, deciding that we’ve had enough of declining reimbursement, onerous ‘improvements’ like electronic med records that slow and worsen communication, and burdensome paperwork. When my medical group reached a ratio of 2 billing/paperwork people per physician in a group of 25 specialists, I decided to quit carrying all of those people on my back. I took a position with a hospital system, and I’ll be quitting in 2015: ten years before I ’should’, in order to get off the treadmill.
I love practicing medicine. I hate what Medicare, the feds, and lastly payors have done to it. You can graduate 100,000 MDs per year: it won’t matter. Nobody is going to train for ten years (school+residency) for a demanding specialty to be paid $16 for an office visit. Good luck with that curable breast cancer… Thanks, Obamacare!

Oct 01, 2010 9:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
FLADoc wrote:

I’m a medical school student about to graduate but still even after 4 years of college and 4 more of medical school there still is a few more years of training ahead of me to become a doctor free to work on my own. In this time me and my classmates have around 250,000 dollars of debt by the time we graduate not to mention giving some of the nice years of our lives to medicine which is insanely time intensive at least to the student or residents.
Bottom line is for everything we went through and all the money and debt hanging over our head there is no way we are going to get paid next to nothing since we did the 7+ year POST college training and took what is equivalent of a nice home in debt over our heads with nothing to show for it just to squeeze by month to month like Obama thinks we should. How is that fair? Before I and many of my fellow “doctors of the next few years” buddies will do that we will go into research or something that won’t make a slave out of us for beans. So many doctors out there get PAID LESS for a procedure, treatment, visit, etc. than it COSTs them to provide those things when you consider rent, staff, supplies, etc. We all wanted to be doctors because it was interesting mostly and we thought we could make a good living even though we would have to go though many hard years for it. If you take that away we will do something else and MOST IMPORTANTLY the next generation of smart college kids won’t go into medicine and then your quality of health care will bottom out because of the people doing it are people that would have never got into medical school. Obama is going to turn this country into the Canadian system if things don’t change in a hurry

Oct 01, 2010 9:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WayneLLewis wrote:

So you want to blame this on doctors’ greed. Wait until you try to buy a new home and find out there is a 3.8% federal sales tax on that purchase to help cover Obamacare. Don’t worry, it won’t kick in until 2013 when Obama is out new growth policies will permit you to buy a home.

Oct 01, 2010 10:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paul1149 wrote:

About the last thing the government should be running is health care. What a nightmare. It hasn’t even kicked in yet, and we’re just beginning to see the first tremors. It will be a major earthquake unless it is repealed.

Oct 01, 2010 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jammies wrote:

“The group’s Center for Workforce Studies released new estimates that showed shortages would be 50 percent worse in 2015 than forecast.”

You meant that the physicians-in-training now won’t want to continue their studies when they realize that they will never be able to 1) repay their HUGE student loans, 2) enjoy the comfortable lifestyle they’d envisioned, or 3) make more money than obama’s “health czar” says they should be ALLOWED to make?

Nah…I just can’t imagine that any of that would have an effect…….

Oct 01, 2010 10:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jesushong wrote:

what. a. surprise.

Oct 01, 2010 10:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse

The science and practice of medicine should become commoditized within the next severalyears as hyperintelligence IT Internet-based clinical, chemical, radiologic analysis, diagnosing and treatment methods (software,artificial intelligent bots) develop and evolve. What reasonably prudent man likes to visit a doctor. Thank God and my genes that at 60 I am in excellent health and avoid hospitals, MDs and pharm like the plague. VCs are you out there?

Oct 01, 2010 11:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ObamaMama wrote:

Please, just stop!! To all the posters who argue that the Obama Plan will cause “rationing” of health care, and contribute to increased patient deaths due to excessive wait times for patients seeking care, this is simply untrue. Remember, we already had that with the PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES that EXCLUDED people with pre-exstiing illnesses, thereby leaving them to DIE because of a lack of coverage. So, where is the outrage? Isn’t that the same charge you’re making regarding Obama Care supposedly killing people. As for the rationing part, these are the same companies that don’t sometimes cover life saving drugs or medical procedures for people that need them because THAT medicine isn’t on their formulary list, or they haven’t met a deductible or some other B.S. loophole they find to avoid paying benefits to people who pay their premiums. And what about the ones with no insurance at all, or the working poor? Aren’t they gonna die anyway if they can’t afford health care? At least the public option, or Obama Care, will provide access to health care for ALL so that people like I just described can at least have a fighting chance, even if it does take some time. (And, by the way, wait times were terrible before Obama). Look at it like this, at least they know help is on the way vs. no help coming at all.

Oct 01, 2010 11:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobbo wrote:

tell it like it is ObamaMama – Bravo for a voice of sanity

Oct 01, 2010 12:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
zotdoc wrote:

I have been a general surgeon since 1984, and I live in a relatively poor area of South Georgia. I will be 60 next year. I make a lot of money, realtively speaking, and reading these comments I can tell that many of the respondents are envious. My answer to this sentiment is that I had to train until I was 34 years old to do what I do. I am on call for surgery 8 nights out of every month. I am held accountable by our legal system for any bad outcome, and it is not about what is right or wrong, just about what a slick attorney can convince a jury of my non doctor “peers” to believe. At 2 am, when it is raining and cold, I come into the hospital to operate on you or your children who have been in a major accident. I have operatecd on several hundreds of people who have never paid me one cent for my services. They had no “coverage”. Services I provide for free are not tax deductable, by the way. The IRS gratiously doesn’t tax me on the income that I did not “earn”. I used to make enough money that this didn’t matter. In the 1990’s medicare began its steady march to lower payments to providers, and the insurance industry was quick to follow. Any one out there in comment land could have gone to medical school and residency and done what I did and are welcome to do what I do now. Now, insurance companies are allowed to look over my shoulder and second guess what I do, what tests and medicines I order, all in the name of managed care. Someone on the telephone purports to know what should be done about the medical care that your doctor has ordered after he has seen you. I’m not trying to be a whiner here, just stating the facts of medical practice today. I am not planning to retire any time soon, but as my costs rise due to government and insurance mandates (I’ve gone from 2 employees in 1990 to 7 1/2 now to handle the phone calls and paperwork, seeing about the same number of patients) and my payments fall I will eventually have to cut back on certain types of patients if I am to stay in business. Unfortunately for all of us the above makes the independent practice of medicine much less attractive than it once was, and I agree there will be a physician shortage. As far as mid level practitioners being given more autonomy, I think that is the coming “solution”. However, I don’t want anyone operating on me with less than my training and education.

Oct 01, 2010 12:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MedVacation wrote:

I spoke with a friend of mine last week. He told me that it takes two months to get an appointment with certain specialsits. I can only imagine how long it will take after the reforms take place.

Medical tourism looks more and more appleaing in liue of all these news. Our company, MedVacation, is currently visiting a medical hospital in Central America, as I am writing this comment. You should see the facility. It looks exactly what one would see in a great hospital in the U.S. Ironically, most of the doctors I have spoken with on this trip are all educated in the U.S.

Oct 01, 2010 12:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cashman57 wrote:

The real problems with 0bamacare will be discovered after they implement some of the stupidity that we learned about after those who didn’t read it passed it in Congress and the guy whose dog ate his birth certificate signed it without reading it.
Notice that the Oval Office idiot exempted himself from this nightmare plan.
I know of five physicians who have exited the field of medicine and retired. One was an oncologist, one and orthopedist, and one was a specialist in internal medicine.
Many doctors do not take medicare or medicaid patients and it will only get worse when this half baked scheme called health reform infects the system with more stupidity than was previously imagined.

Oct 01, 2010 1:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
hapticz wrote:

i’ve got a closet full of wire coat hangers. i’m going into the abortion business.

Oct 01, 2010 2:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

We need to move Medicine from humans to Internet-based intelligent software analyzing care. Bring on the artificially intelligent robots. In the interim, let the nurses, and P.A.s help out. Can’t blame the Doctors, Obamacare or insurance companies for the miserable state of healthcare. Best advice: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF-Exercise, eat well, watch DR. Oz, Oprah, visit natural care docs, etc. Tempis fugit

Oct 01, 2010 2:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cuturn wrote:

Love all the doctors that say they will quit. Planning on Wall St. becoming a gambling den again with high pay off? Going to go work for the same insurance industry that is squeezing you now? BTW those taking of going into law, lawyers have high debt when they get out of school too, along with long years of schooling and malpractice insurance. So please don’t look at that as an easy way out. They are also losing their jobs at a high rate these days. (The 10 years of greedy gambling hurt them too.)
If a doctor is going to quit because more people can pay for services maybe they are in the wrong line of work to start with. As to setting prices and being squeezed look to the insurance industry that exist right now. High premiums on one end and low payments with lots of hurdles on the other. We need a fix for everyone and one that put health and care of the patient first.

Oct 01, 2010 4:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Gen wrote:

Doctors will quit…..let them quit. Those that quit do not care one bit for the health of the American people…they think they entitled to 500k a year because they went to school for 10 years. It is time we break the grip the AMA has on the health care system. It is the only system that continues to increase in cost 8% per year…over 15% of our GDP. With the advances in technology prices should be dropping …like any other technology sector. The AMA is self serving and will continue to hold up the American people until the system completely fails.

Oct 01, 2010 4:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jmjjmj1 wrote:

PPPPPPlease the docs are going broke, yeah sure.

Oct 01, 2010 5:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cashman57 wrote:

Doctors who are going to quit are doing so because it will not pay to work. If you want proof look at the dental system in the UK.
The doctors who will quit can make money doing other things.
I have a deep respect for American doctors. Two of the surgeries I had ( and paid for myself) were cutting edge and left me with a far better quality of life than what was available under socialist health care.
To all of you who whine about doctors quitting, get back to me when your cookie cutter managed care leaves you disfigured or a relative dead because the hospital had to cut corners or close their doors.
This 0bamacare is exactly the wrong thing to do and future Americans will look back at people like you with derision and disgust.
No doctor that I know has a shortage of patients, where do you think the patients will go when the doctors quit like the dentists in the UK did?
You people are being short sighted and seem to be drinking the koolaid the prez is feeding you.
Did you notice that he and his family will not participate in this program?
If it isn’t good enough for the guy whose dog ate his birth certificate it isn’t good enough for the rest of us.
Why can’t you see that?

Oct 01, 2010 7:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Solbro wrote:

The AMA has been limiting the amount of Doctors since its inception – and the specialty “guilds” ie DMA (dermatologists)
do EVERYTHING they can to limit the amount of specialists. Its a racket. Doctors need to make LESS money. They have to compete like the rest of us do. The specialists are really the ones to blame.

Oct 01, 2010 8:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Maggy519 wrote:

Wow. This is my first experience in the comment section of Reuters. I am not very impressed with the level of education here.
It seems as though the 33 MILLION people who will now be insured and will be seeking treatment are of no concern to any of you. Just let them die huh? Pretty cold if you ask me. BTW, if those folks do get a life threatening illness, due to lack of preventative care, they will be costing ALL of us when they use the emergency room. Also, the insurance companies are feeding you a line if they are using the Obamacare excuse for cutting services or increasing premiums. I urge everyone commenting here to find out the truth.

Oct 01, 2010 8:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
aahari wrote:

@Maggy, I’m with you.. As if HMO’s and “for profit” HMO’s/Insurance company’s never existed nor got between patient and doctor!

These people have no memory nor a fundamental understanding of the healthcare system. That and the fact that if you shorten medical education you get poorly trained & “edukated” doktors!!!

And as for the fools complaining about doctors pay? Aside from the plastic surgeons and a few others, I’d rather know the guy/gal about to open someone heart, who has committed roughly 10 years of their life in debt to get educated, who is going to be responsible FOR A LIFE is not going to earn $30k at the end of it.

Seems some in this country have foregone the effort/skill to THINK critically and prefer to complain/shout instead about things they know little/nothing about.

Oct 02, 2010 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ilaboo wrote:

it is against the law for a MD to charge a Medicare patient extra fees–
Why would any person become a MD if they are not going to be paid for it–imagine the sacrifice a surgeon goes through to become a physician. what you will see is a massive number of foreign mds in the country. The democratic party has totally destroyed medicine in this county–what might help is a national sales tax to be only used to pay physicians

Oct 03, 2010 6:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jksaml wrote:

When you take away incentive, naturally people are going to choose something else. This Obamacare is going to ruin our economy, let alone destroy our top notch medical care.

Oct 03, 2010 10:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BHOlied wrote:

That’s not fair!

Saint Barry told me this Healthcare bill would do amazing things for healthcare.

Whuhappen? Oh, Barry lied….

Wake up America, the governments involvement in business of any kind is poison.

Oct 04, 2010 2:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
KEAN wrote:

Obamacare, as any reader can see above, is going to drive docs out of medicine. Sorry Obamamama – your apologies that it is not Obama’s fault doesn’t hold up. A great shortage of doctors will ensue, and try as hard as hospitals, PA’s, NP’s and others, we will not be able to stem the tide. Hospitals have never let anyone die (contrary to the assertions of activists) just because they have no insurance. There has always been a safety net of charitable care. But that charity was matched by that of dedicated doctors who also work for for free. The true charity on many doctors has never been given the kind of credit / andattention. Hositals have also ben very generous. Obama care will erode this desire to give out of compassion. Now it is becoming increasingly all about the money. How sad.

Oct 04, 2010 5:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DVM wrote:

@Maggy519…True healthcare reform would have provisions that would make realistic attempts to lower the rising costs of healthcare services in this country. Obamacare has no provision that addresses the actual cost of healthcare itself.

With all due respect to your apparent “education level” on the topic, insurance companies will have no option but to increase premiums under Obamacare to stay in business long term. Guardian Life and Principal Financial are 2 large carriers who have already exited the medical insurance marketplace due to Obamacare. Certainly, if the bill stays in it’s present form, there will be many more to come in the next few years.

Being forced to cover services that generally now have limits, minimum medical loss ratios, 3:1 community rating models, having to pay for clinical trial studies, adverse selection and the vast list of many other anti-actuarial federal regulatory guidelines will squeeze carriers from the marketplace.

The truth is we would all like for insurance companies to pay for more services and guarantee issue coverage to every American with no pre-ex limitations. Both insurance carriers and medical providers have to be paid a fair and equitable profit to keep the lights on. To achieve the ultimate goal of accessible/affordable insurance to all Americans (including those 33 million uninsureds), the rising costs of healthcare services must be tackled aggressively. That is the only manner to reform the healthcare system in this country.

The Democrats rammed this bill through Congress on behalf of every American who had no say in the matter. Therefore, the Dems are going to have to live with it’s political consequences.

Oct 05, 2010 3:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CCHUCK wrote:

The day the reforms were instituted, my heart doctor cut his office hours to 3 hours a day. So, it looks like the doctors are out to artificially create a shortage. Anymore the oath seems to be more of “lets make money” instead of “do no harm”.

Oct 05, 2010 4:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
biggeorge3380 wrote:

Doctor shortages will continue into the future because most practices will go broke due to the lack of adequate reimbursements. For hospitals, the emergency rooms are losing money so to be profitable, procedures are they way to go. Most hospitals would go out of business unless they perform cardiac and Cancer treatments. Also, it’s too bad the MDs performing abortions (for HUGE profits) won’t be helping allievate doctor shortages.

Oct 05, 2010 5:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
venturen wrote:

why the hell would I become a doctor. I am smart I am going to wall street make a killing and retire at 40. The job easy for me as I pretty smart and can choose any job. Why help people…when I can get filthy rich screwing them!

Oct 05, 2010 6:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobSmith wrote:

@venturen – I’m quite glad someone like you isn’t going to become a doctor! I’d rather my doctor consider “helping people” to be a higher calling than getting “filthy rich screwing them”. But hey – that’s just me.

Fear and hatred is so … comfortable for you people, isn’t it?

Oct 05, 2010 9:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
factcheck wrote:

My mom’s surgeon left the state because he said HMO’s were trying to play Doctor and not letting him practice medicine the way a real Dr. should. They even threatened to not send him patients from the hospital next door if he didn’t sign on the dotted line and submit to their rules and restrictions.

My dentist will NOT take anything BUT cash.
She says patients need to work out reimbursement with their insurance company.
Her rates are 50-75% cheaper than other dentists. (Example, x-ray and extraction cost me less than $75, a full dental cleaning, $50.00)
She says the difference in rates is based on how much it costs her dentist friends to pay for labor to process insurance papers and fight with the insurance companies to get paid.

A LOT of the problems are NOT with the medical profession, they are WITH THE Insurance Companies. They try to control too much. Example: they frown on Doctors that order tests for their patients.
The insurance companies TELL the Dr’s what THEY feel is acceptable.

In my book it’s the insurance companies that are to blame. Dr’s are stuck in the middle. I’m not surprised that they’re sick of the way things are.

Anyone remember the days before HMO’s took over? Dr’s were allowed to be Dr’s, not a group of micromanaged slaves to the insurance industry.

Oct 07, 2010 2:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
factcheck wrote:

zotdoc,

Just read your post. Thank You! Wish I’d read it before I posted. You explained it much better AND being a Doctor you have lived it.

I looked up what changed in the 1990’s that you referenced in your post.
Looks like the GOP started the mess with restricting how much would be paid to Dr’s and Hospitals.

From an article dated Oct. 1995.

“The complicated legislation, known as the Medicare Preservation Act, which passed the House Thursday, would yield $270 billion in savings by the year 2002, Republicans say, by curtailing payments to hospitals, increasing out-of-pocket expenses for patients and channeling many seniors into less-expensive managed-care systems.

The White House has countered that the Republican plan would restrict payments to doctors and hospitals so severely that many will become unwilling to treat Medicare patients. Clinton has proposed $124 billion in Medicare cuts over 10 years.”

Again, the only people that made money were the insurance companies. But then that’s who the GOP has always supported, Corporate America. They “pretend” to care about the people but their actions never show it once in power.

Oct 07, 2010 3:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Introvable wrote:

My doctor has started a “boutique practice”, where I pay an annual fee and get personal service. I pay less to him than I did for insurance, and don’t have to deal with insurance representative overriding my medical needs. My doc (presumably) makes more money, and does not have the insurance and fed overriding his decisions. Why wouldn’t more doctors turn to this as the government increases their nonsense?

Oct 07, 2010 11:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RealityBites wrote:

The USA doesn’t have healthcare, it has Wealthcare, if you are rich you get a doctor, if not, you get a moron with a stethoscope passing out Big Pharma sanctioned pills.

Oct 10, 2010 10:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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