Thursday, October 25, 2012

Widespread Doctor Shortages in America: “This is a national problem… it is going to get much worse”

Even before President Obama’s much heralded Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into full effect starting next year, the medical community is already struggling with too many patients and not enough doctors. The Association of American Medical Colleges says that there is a shortage of at least 13,000 doctors nationwide.

But here’s the kicker: It’s only going to get worse as a nationalized healthcare plan is instituted across the United States.

If you think 13,000 is a big number, consider what the state of our health care will be when, just a decade from now, the shortages are ten times worse.

Everything that opponents of the health care law warned about prior to it being passed without being read by Congress is now becoming reality, with patients often waiting months for even basic medical care:

    Once a problem limited to rural areas, doctor shortages are now hitting large population centers such as Las Vegas and Detroit where people may have to wait weeks or months or travel hundreds of miles for care. Read more....


  1. The real solution to our health care problems would be a national health care system like Canada's. But that would make conservative's heads explode.

    1. I don't think the gov't can do a better job than the citizen at providing good healthcare. The politicians won't have the type of healthcare that they are trying to impose on us. If you think that Canada is doing a much better job than the US, than by all means move there. I tire of your socialist BS while trying to pretend you are a middle of the road gal.

    2. Speaking as a Canadian, I can say that dealing with healthcare is frustrating here. While we may do well in many areas, the fact that there is a single supplier leaves a lack of incentive for efficiency and innovation that we could be enjoying.But we also have to point south as a source of the problem. As past econtalk episodes have shown the American health care system, due to government interference, increases the costs due to false incentives, fixed pricing (for medicare) etc. This allows canadian healthcare defenders to say “See? Free Market Healthcare is expensive and leaves poor people unable to afford even basic healthcare.”Canada’s system is unique in that it is ILLEGAL to charge the patient for anything that is covered by the government system. Most european countries (even Britain and France) have private doctors, hospitals, insurance etc that can charge the patient and ‘compete’ with the public option. In doing so, they retain doctors and professionals in their country. I can hardly see this as a bad thing.

  2. sharonsj, you are right on! Sweden is #1 both in business climate and in standard of living.

    The redistributiphobic conservatives are confusing cost and value.

    1. I spent 20+ years of my life in Sweden.

      Without hesitation, I can say that you have no clue of what you are talking about!

      You must have talked to the people whom I consider users, and not the ones I consider providers. Your un-informed biased comment shows me that you should just stop writing and start asking more questions!

      In Sweden, there is a huge group of people who abuse the system, and are living off other citizens hard work. I left the country because of the unjust treatment of the "providers"!

      For a long time, being profitable was almost a bad word, that users looked as a reason you should have to pay higher tax.

      These days the government is trying to undo years and years of unjust treatment of the people who pays for the welfare state.

      I am one of many individuals who have chosen to not live in Sweden because of this, together with many corporations that have chosen to pay there taxes elsewhere!

    2. Sweden is a country of about 9.1 million people on the Scandinavian Peninsula of Northern Europe. Geographically, it is slightly larger than California. It is by any measure a first world country, with a labor force working primarily in industry or the service area, a GDP per capita of about $31,600 and an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.

      For much of the 20th century, Sweden had a single-payer system of health care in which the government paid almost all health care costs. Like other nations with a single-payer system, Sweden has had to deal with the problem of ever-growing health care expenses causing a strain on government budgets. It has dealt with this problem by rationing health care - instituting waiting lists for medical appointments and surgery.

      Sweden stands not merely as a warning about single-payer systems, but also as an example of what happens when market-based reform of such systems do not go far enough.

      In the 1990s, Sweden set about reforming its health care system by introducing aspects of privatization. These reforms were limited, however, and the old problems with waiting lists and rising costs had re-emerged by the beginning of this decade.

      The experience of Sweden demonstrates that when a nation adopts market-oriented reform for its health care system, the reforms will fail if the market is not permitted to work.

      While Sweden is a first world country, its health care system - at least in regards to access - is closer to the third world. Because the health care system is heavily-funded and operated by the government, the system is plagued with waiting lists for surgery. Those waiting lists increase patients' anxiety, pain and risk of death.

      Sweden's health care system offers two lessons for the policymakers of the United States. The first is that a single-payer system is not the answer to the problems faced as Americans. Sweden's system does not hold down costs and results in rationing of care. The second lesson is that market-oriented reforms must permit the market to work. Specifically, government should not protect health care providers that fail to provide patients with a quality service from going out of business.

      When the United States chooses to reform its health care system, reform should lead to improvement. Reforming along the lines of Sweden would only make our system worse.

    3. How can you have a high standard of living in Sweden when most things are more expensive than the US?

      Consumer Prices in Sweden are 34.93% higher than in United States

      Consumer Prices Including Rent in Sweden are 25.82% higher than in United States

      Rent Prices in Sweden are 10.94% lower than in United States

      Restaurant Prices in Sweden are 55.39% higher than in United States

      Groceries Prices in Sweden are 21.75% higher than in United States

      Local Purchasing Power in Sweden is 21.05% lower than in United States

  3. Let the doctors stomp their feet and hold their breath.

    When they malpractice they lie, tamper with records and rubber-stamp second opinions.

    They protect their drug-addicted and incompetent buddies.

  4. Yo, Anonymous 2:30 A.M. The standard of living is measured in more than money, that's why Sweden surpasses us despite things costing more.

    Like I said conservatives confuse cost and value.

    1. Yo, yo, yo is going to lecture everyone about standard of living? Please educate us on how to keep a good standard of living without money? While you are at it, explain the value of something too. Then, state the difference between the cost of something and the value of something "Enlightened One".

      The people get paid less, taxes are high, items are expensive and they are having problems with healthcare expenses. I don't see the high standard of living that you are promoting for Sweden. It is one of the better places to live in Europe, but to say that we should adopt their way of life is absurd.

      You are free to migrate to Sweden and live the life that you envision.

  5. Yes, and physicians are free to migrate wherever the heck they please also.

    Getting back to cost and value, single payer might cost more, but will reduce bankruptcies and anxieties about becoming ill, which to me is worth more than the money it costs. But to each his own.

    1. You didn't explain the difference between cost and value. You just told me what you valued. Not everyone values the same thing and you are imposing your value on me.

      I value freedom, and that means I want gov't to stay out of my business/life. Having true freedom requires personal responsibility; your health is your responsibility.

      You also didn't explain how we are to keep a good standard of living without money.

      Single payer won't even cover everyone! How will it reduce bankruptcies?

      Clearly, you haven't thought about this one bit. All you've thought about was how this single payer system would benefit you and others like you without thinking about how it would affect all of us in the long-run.

      Yes, to each his own. That is why I don't want to foot the bill for your healthcare!

    2. To be specific, single payer will cover everyone, it just won't cover everyone with quality healthcare.

      While the government in a single-payer system will pay for everyone's health care, it limits the access to health care. In a single-payer system, citizens often believe that "the government" is paying for their health care. When people perceive that someone else is paying for something, they tend to over-use it. In a single-payer health care system, people over-use health care. This puts strain on government health care budgets, and to contain costs governments must ration care.

      Governments in a single-payer system ration care using waiting lists for surgery and diagnostic procedures and by canceling surgeries. As the Canadian Supreme Court said upon ruling unconstitutional a Quebec law that banned private health care, "access to a waiting list is not access to health care."

      Most single-payer advocates point to life expectancy and infant mortality as evidence that single-payer systems produce better health outcomes than the U.S. And, indeed, the U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than many nations with a single-payer system.

      The problem is that life expectancy and infant mortality tell us very little about the quality of a health care system. Life expectancy is determined by a host of factors over which a health care system has little control, such as genetics, crime rate, gross domestic product per capita, diet, sanitation, and literacy rate.

      The primary reason the U.S. has lower life expectancy is that we are ethnically a far more diverse nation than most other industrialized nations. Factors associated with different ethnic backgrounds -- culture, diet, etc. -- can have a substantial impact on life expectancy.

      All that being said, I don't understand why anyone would think that the gov't would do a better job than the individual when it comes to their health. And to think that some people claim it's their right for someone else to pay for them? These same people rant about privacy, yet they want others to pay for what happens in their private lives ie abortions, STD's, overeating, smoking, risky pursuits etc...

      Socialized medicine is nothing but control of the masses. Just think about how much control the gov't would have over you. Every time they wanted to outlaw something or regulate it, it would fall under some health issue.


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