What part of “health care is a finite resource” does the left not understand?
That’s reality, something the left routinely attempts to pretend doesn’t exist.
Some examples of the point – ObamaCare will put 30 million more people on insurance rolls Yay, problem of health care solved, right?
No, of course not. There will still be the same number of doctors and hours in a day. As we’ve been saying repeatedly, getting insurance does not mean you’ll be able to see a doctor.
And then there are the new requirements placed on doctors by ObamaCare that further exacerbate the problem.
Take preventive care. ObamaCare says that health insurance must cover the tests and procedures recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. What would that involve? In the American Journal of Public Health (2003), scholars at Duke University calculated that arranging for and counseling patients about all those screenings would require 1,773 hours of the average primary-care physician’s time each year, or 7.4 hours per working day.
So, a doctor either commits to 10 or 12 hours of work a day or she sees patients for other reasons for 2/3rds an hour a day.
Or try this:
Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services—with no deductible or copayment.
Of course, none of that is “free”, but much of it will also tie up a doctor’s time. Preventive care costs money – lots of money – and when you have someone else paying for it, even more people will try to take advantage of that.
The left thinks that’s a feature, not a bug.
Here’s the real-world problem, however:
If the screenings turn up a real problem, there will have to be more testing and more counseling. Bottom line: To meet the promise of free preventive care nationwide, every family doctor in America would have to work full-time delivering it, leaving no time for all the other things they need to do.
In effect, it is government mandating treatment that fills up the doctor’s time when much of that treatment may not be necessary. But that call has been taken out of the doctor’s hands with this law. If a patient demands all their “free” stuff, then what?
I often harp on the fact that the left seems sublimely ignorant on how the laws of economics work. Well, what ObamaCare has set up are exactly the same conditions that plague most government run healthcare systems:
When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time.
Prepare yourself for long waits for what you now consider to be routine problems. If it is routine you will likely have less of a chance of seeing a doctor than you do now. Best hope you can self- medicate or just wait out the problem. If it is a serious problem, you’ll most likely still be in for a wait.
As physicians increasingly have to allocate their time, patients in plans that pay below-market prices will likely wait longest. Those patients will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, low-income families on Medicaid, and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) people with subsidized insurance acquired in ObamaCare’s newly created health insurance exchanges.
Econ 101. So what is likely to happen?
When people cannot find a primary-care physician who will see them in a reasonable length of time, all too often they go to hospital emergency rooms.
Uh, wasn’t that a big part of the impetus behind creating ObamaCare? To “solve” that problem? In fact, it is likely to exacerbate it.
Of course the solution to the government made problem will be what? Most likely more government. Those patients who are in those plans that pay below-market reimbursement will complain to whom? Politicians. And vote hungry politicians will try to do what? "Fix” the problem they created. And who will they make the bad guys? Well, certainly not them – greedy doctors or insurance companies most likely.
You can see this coming from a mile off – well if your eyes aren’t full of moon dust and you have even a passing acquaintance with how the real world works.
As P.J. O’Rourke so aptly said, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”
Unless this monstrosity of a law is repealed, we’re about to find out.