Friday, October 8, 2010

Two-Month Wait to See Your Family Doctor: Coming Soon Under ObamaCare

It's already happened in Boston, where the state's ObamaCare prototype health care system "boosted the insured rate" by about 4%, and thus inadvertently lengthened the average Bostonian's wait time to see a family doctor to more than two months. By comparison, the same wait in Miami is only seven days.

That long wait has happened despite the fact that Massachusetts has the country's highest concentrations of doctors and despite the fact that Boston has 14 teaching hospitals.

All kinds of knowledgeable groups are predicting "crisis-level" doctor shortages as the result of ObamaCare. The American College of Physicians expects "a catastrophic crisis" to ensue from ObamaCare.

Reducing that crisis to actual figures, the Association of American Medical Colleges, predicts a shortage of 63,000 doctors in just 5 years, and a shortage of more than 91,000 doctors in 10 years. About half of the missing physicians will be family doctors, the rest surgeons and specialists.

As the editors of Investors Business Daily have pointed out: "A few Americans might be better off under ObamaCare than they were before. But for almost everyone else, health care quality will decline."

And, of course, those hurt worst will be the people who already are "most vulnerable and underserved." "And weren't those the very people the Democrats said they wanted to help by moving the country into a national health care system?"


The people of our country desperately need a Congress with the political will to overturn ObamaCare. 



    I love your page... Link Exchange??

    Common Cents

  2. The title of this blogpost caught my eye - I was over at Trestin's. Now two months is simply appalling but then so is 7 days. I live in the UK where we have "socialised medicine" and, if I am ill I can get a same-day appointment at my doctors' surgery or receive treatment at Accident and Emergency or at a walk-in clinic. If I just want a chat about some health issue then 1-2 days wait is the norm. It may be a bit higher in some inner cities but I have never lived anywhere where I have had to wait more than 3 days to see a doctor. Strikes me that Obamacare will have huge teething problems but what you already have is not so good. Just my opinion.........

  3. CL,

    I agree that not the health care but the issues related to its affordability and accessibility need to be improved. Unfortunately, Obamacare will only exacerbate those problems. Obama care is filled with layers of bureaucracy for both the physicians and the patients. Obamacare is basically a nationawide model of what Quite Rightly described above. There are about 5 things that pretty much everyone could agree upon in which need to be fixed but unfortunately our politicians refused to listen to we the people. Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with common sense legislation that focuses on solving the problems of affordability and accessibility.

    We must vote in November. Then, we must work on repealing Obamacare.

  4. @ Cambridge Lady. Obviously I wasn't clear enough. I did not mean to imply that Americans have to wait a week to get medical care.

    The average wait to see a family physician in Miami is 7 days. Other kinds of medical care are still available, and people with more serious problems will naturally be moved to the front of the line. If a patient with a minor problem is satisfied to see a physician's assistant (a nurse trained to make medical evaluations and prescribe drugs) instead of a doctor, the wait is less, often same-day. And then, of course, there are Emergency Rooms where people are admitted on a triaged basis: heart attack symptoms=instant service, minor complaint=expect a long wait, but same day.

    Waits to see specialists can be long. In my area, the family physician makes a recommendation to the specialist. If your symptoms require it, you could be in the operating room the next day (or sooner), but if the doctor deems your problem to be less severe, you could wait weeks to see a busy specialist while he or she takes care of more serious cases ahead of you.

    Our system works well enough that cancer survival rates in the U.S. are significantly better than in the UK. For example, in the UK: women with breast cancer are 88% more likely to die within 5 years in the UK than in the US, men with prostate cancer are 6 times more likely to die within 5 years, men and women with colon or rectal cancer are 40% more likely to die within 5 years (Lancet study).

    With statistics like that, it is no wonder that most Americans want to hold onto our health care system instead of trading it for a British model. Massachusetts' trial of ObamaCare-type "reforms" shows that a move in that direction lowers the availability of medical care.

  5. All our GPs are "family" doctors so an average wait of 7 days does seem very long to me.

    Re. the cancer survival rates, I don't believe we are comparing like with like here. You have a significant proportion of the population without health insurance. How many are dying before they even get diagnosed? In the UK people may experience delays in diagnosis but it'll often be down to reluctance to see a doctor, not because of cost (as it's all free at the point of need). I saw my GP just before Christmas with a troubling lump. Just 14 days later I was having scans and biopsies taken at my local NHS hospital. Luckily all was negative but if it had been bad news I was already scheduled to start my course of treatment just days later. The NHS has improved drastically over the past decade, due in part to the reforms introduced by the Labour government. I fear things may get worse with the ConDems but I still think our system is better. Just my opinion .........

  6. @ Cambridge Lady- Glad your health scare was just a scare.

    I agree that we are comparing apples and oranges, but I don't think we are comparing the same apples and oranges.

    In the U.S., as in the U.K., when someone dies, the "underlying cause of death" of that person is determined, and, in most places, the related causes are also determined. So, if someone dies of untreated cancer (rather unlikely considering that most people will seek treatment for pain or will become unable to function), that person's death is still included in cancer survival statistics. If dying of cancer in the U.S. because one doesn't have health insurance were as common as you seem to think, the U.S. survival rates would be much lower, not much higher, than in the UK. As it is, the UK as a country ranks 20th or so in success of cancer treatments.

    By far the largest percentage of uninsured people in the U.S. are here illegally. These are people who owe their allegiance to another country that is not providing them with needed services. Nevertheless, hospitals routinely offer illegal aliens free treatment for chronic diseases such as cancer and kidney failure. This practice, though obviously helpful for people who illegally come to this country to enjoy its benefits, is the source of much distress for the taxpayers who must compete for health care with the very large number of non-citizens who do not participate in footing the bill.

    I do note that the goals of socialized and free-enterprise health care are different.

    In the socialized system, of necessity, the people who get the best care are those who fall into a specific age range with relatively common curable diseases that respond well to relatively inexpensive treatments. Our neighbor to the North, Canada, like the UK, has a socialized health care system which features lower survival rates for cancer than the U.S., as well as higher mortality rates for heart disease. The Canadian system even has protocols for sending some of its patients to the U.S. for treatment because Canada's system lacks facilities for some of the more serious and more rare terminal diseases. In fact, some of the most vocal opponents of socialized health care for the U.S. are Canadians who depend on the American system. Also, in the U.S. we hear that the U.K. health care system does not give cancer patients access to some of the more effective drugs because they are too expensive for the system. That's a predictable outcome when costs must be controlled. Of course, some kind of cost controls will be exerted no matter what system is in place.

    However, when politicians start making health care decisions, that's when really bad things happen, for example, politicians making sure that voters with common minor problems get sent to the front of the line ahead of people with serious life-threatening problems because the votes of say, a large percentage of the population who want free birth control, antidepressants, or smoking cessation drugs, will produce many more votes than a the much smaller group with brain cancer or stab wounds. That's part of the reality that much of America wants to avoid.

  7. We tried to tell them this was coming, but they wouldn't listen. That's the liberal/progressive for you.

  8. From my experience here in Albuquerque, NM, waiting two months or longer to see your doctor is the normal wait time.

    Know someone that was unexpectedly diagnosed via routine sinus CT scan with a brain tumor located in a dangerous area of the brain. They called a neurologist to make an appointment and the wait was two months to the day!

    If our health care system is so short on doctors why isn't the government subsidizing medical school for every eligible candidate to increase the number of doctors??? They subsidize private interests that grow sugar cane in Florida!

    Seems ridiculous to me.

    My two cents,