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Doctor Doctor, Give Me the News

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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It’s a Metaphor

The high hopes of all the poor uninsured masses were recently dashed when the shiny new Obamacare website turned out to be a complete failure. This marvel of technology didn’t come cheap, costing anywhere from 180 million to over 1 billion [1,2], depending on who you ask, and yet after spending all that money on it, it still doesn’t fulfill its purpose.

The website has turned into one big sad metaphor for the entire Affordable Care Act. To begin with, the ACA can’t possibly hope to support the insurance needs of the population as written, and neither can the website. Neither the technology nor our existing health care network can handle what it’s being asked to handle, and no pep talk from the president is going to change that. Don’t forget, the same President that assured us that the website will get fixed is the one that assured the country that nobody would lose their insurance plans, and look how that turned out [3].

Also, the cost of the website is just like the cost of the act for which it was created: grossly inflated, wasteful, and embarrassing. The government doesn’t have a very encouraging track record when it comes to efficiency in its business practices, and it doesn’t look like this is going to be any different. The health care exchanges, which rely on enrolling large numbers of participants, have astonishingly low rates of participation. In North Dakota, the rate of enrollment has been just one person per day since the federal exchange went live on the first of October. It’s not surprising that the feds asked that this information not be made public [4].

The whole Obamacare website debacle can really be summed up on one question; If the government can’t be trusted to run a website, how can we trust it to oversee healthcare for the entire population?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Social Programs

 

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