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Doctor Doctor, Give Me the News

13 Feb

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The Affordable Health Care Act does not make health care more affordable. You can’t ensure that everyone has access to affordable health care by simply mandating that people buy insurance.

One reason why mandated insurance isn’t the answer is that there is more demand for medical care than there are doctors to supply it. Insurance won’t help you if you can’t get in to see a doctor, either because the wait time is just too long or because doctors won’t take your sub-standard insurance [1]. This already is the case with Medicare. The compensation simply isn’t worth it to many doctors, and Obamacare is going to be in the same category [1]. This will put millions more people into the already overloaded system of doctors that accept the government’s cut rate plans, which means less access to care for patients.

There’s a reason we don’t have a surplus of doctors. It takes from 11 to 14 years of education and training to become a doctor and comes with an average debt of over $166,000 [2]. Residents work enough hours for two full time jobs for years with poor compensation. People who are willing to go through this kind of ordeal are not common, and they will be even less common if they can’t expect to be compensated for their initial investment of time and money.

We should be finding ways of increasing the supply of care, like encouraging more direct primary care and nurse practitioners, instead of focusing on running the insurance industry into the ground.

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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Economics

 

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