Monday, August 20, 2012

Hope You Enjoy the Long Waiting Line for Your Doctor!

I was reading the Wall Street Journal today, and I came across an article entitled Why the Doctor Can't See You. In the article, John C. Goodman points out a paramount problem with Obamacare: the health-care system cannot possibly deliver on the huge increase in demand for primary-care services. This means that Obamacare is going to provide such services as birth control, annual checkups, and reported just today in Reuters, there is the probability that Obamacare will also provide HIV testing. Those on the Left think that this is a benefit, but in reality, this is quite unsettling. Why?

It's not because Obamacare is going to provide more universal health insurance coverage. In spite of the fact Obama already promised that no one would lose their insurance under the new or that universal health insurance would be provided, I already know that based on CBO estimations, Obamacare will cause many to lose their insurance.

Thus in this instance, not only will more people be insured, but more services will be provided. More health services are great. What can possibly be wrong with that? When the government subsidizes something (e.g., birth control, college loans), the decisions consumers make are distorted. With regards to covering services under health care, the impression left is that these services are free. To quote Milton Friedman in a cliché-like manner, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." When the mentality is that "I don't have to worry because my insurance will cover it," what results is a price spiral in the health care market due to the increased demand.

When demand outpaces supply, the result is a shortage. It is bad enough that prior to any discussion about Obamacare, there was a shortage in doctors. With the bill in place and the government becoming more and more intrusive in health care decisions, not only are there many physicians who want to pull out of business because the bill stifles their ability to make their own decisions about their own practice, but the Association of American Medical Colleges is predicting a physician shortage of 130,600 by 2025. Even when using the "more simplistic" competitive market model, I'm not at all surprised that the economics matches up with the projected losses. If the New York Times can pick up on this, then you know something is going on.

Regarding the pro-Obamacare mentality, Uwe Reinhardt points out that "it's a strange theory that having no insurance coverage and ability to pay for healthcare is better than having insurance coverage but having to wait for a doctor's appointment to get non-emergency care." As long as proponents are able to sleep at night because "doing something was better than maintaining the status quo," I suppose having longer waiting lines is perfectly acceptable.


  1. This is a thought provoking post. A lot of discussions have actually been posted online and offline to weigh the consequences of Obamacare and your post helps the rest of the American people to decide.

  2. As a practicing physician I can tell you that both for my financial survival under what will surely be draconian cuts in Medicare reimbursement to physicians under Obamacare, as well as a supporter of a more Libertarian government, that I already have plans in place to react immediately Jan 1 when the first of the Medicare cuts go through (along with the other components of Taxmaggedon) to notify ALL my Medicare patients that they will no longer be able to secure ongoing care from me. This will flood (overload) the system with now non-cared for Medicare patients, and further clog up the works. It will give living strength to the lie "you will be able to keep your doctor if you want to", and it is my small contribution to "Going Galt".