“I think the concern would be that the system will be overwhelmed, that there will be a greater demand than we can meet in a quality fashion and that we have to delay services for a lot of individuals.” — Dr. Steven Lamm (NYU School of Medicine)
“Surprise, surprise, surprise” — Gomer Pyle
I’m neither a doctor nor a rocket scientist; I’m just a simple journalist and economist who once taught junior high school math following my college graduation. However, it seemed to me that the math didn’t add up three years ago when Obamacare was first proposed, and it certainly doesn’t make any sense now. Yet, it’s quite fascinating that some people, like the good doctor Lamm, are just starting to realize this fact.
Let’s take a trip back in time for a moment. In the good old days, I would spend time talking to my friendly internist about our families, sports, the financial markets, and life in general — and he would also mix in a little doctoring. It was all good, making for a relationship that we could both live with. Unfortunately, the downward spiral was just beginning.
It wasn’t long before the government mandated cutbacks in doctor Medicare reimbursements, which meant that each work hour required the maximum amount of medical patients to be squeezed into the least amount of time in order to equalize the revenues that were previously achieved. Thus, there was no longer time for idle chatter about sports, financial markets, and family — it was just “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you very much.” And remember, this was all before the onset of Obamacare.
Before October 1st of this year — without considering either our ever-increasing population or any new healthcare mandates — the nation was experiencing a shortage of approximately 20,000 doctors. Now, with October 1st in the rearview mirror and the widespread retirement of experienced doctors coupled with the fact that only 20% of new doctors are becoming primary care physicians, the situation has become nearly impossible.
If you so desire, it’s quite possible to fix a healthcare website by putting the best and the brightest to work on it. In fact, you can arguably fix any type of faulty system that looks great on paper, but if everything depends on someone playing doctor, and that someone has decided to play golf instead, than those who have just been issued their new healthcare insurance will be sitting in the waiting room…sitting and waiting, sitting and waiting, and sitting and waiting.
The brilliant folks who came up with all of this probably never did the math regarding the number of doctors and nurses that will be required to satisfy the new system. That’s very understandable because unlike the rest of us, most of them have probably paid to have their doctors on call.
And that’s definitely no “surprise, surprise, surprise.”
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