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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ObamaCare 2016: Happy Yet? -- By Bradley Allen, The Wall Street Journal

(David Klein image)

Three years after the disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act, most of the website troubles finally have been ironed out. People are now able to log on to the government's ACA website and to most of the state health-insurance exchanges. The public has grudgingly come to accept higher insurance premiums, new taxes and increases in part-time workers who were formerly full-time. But Americans are irate anyway—because now they're seeing the health-care law's destructive effect on the fundamental nature of the way their care is delivered.

Even before the ACA's launch in 2013, many physicians—seeing the changes in their profession that lay ahead—had begun talking their children out of going to medical school. After the launch, compensation fell, while nothing in the ACA stopped lawsuits and malpractice premiums from rising. Doctors must now see many more patients each day to meet expenses, all while dealing with the mountains of paperwork mandated by the health-care law. 

The forecast shortage of doctors has become a real problem. It started in 2014 when the ACA cut $716 billion from Medicare to accommodate 30 million newly "insured" people through an expansion of Medicaid. More important, the predicted shortage of 42,000 primary-care physicians and that of specialists (such as heart surgeons) was vastly underestimated. It didn't take into account the ACA's effect on doctors retiring early, refusing new patients or going into concierge medicine. These estimates also ignored the millions of immigrants who would be seeking a physician after having been granted legal status.

It is surprising that the doctor shortage was not better anticipated: After all, when Massachusetts mandated health insurance in 2006, the wait to see a physician in some specialties increased considerably, the shortage of primary-care physicians escalated and more doctors stopped accepting new patients. In 2013, the Massachusetts Medical Society noted waiting times from 50 days to 128 days in some areas for new patients to see an internist, for instance.

But doctor shortages are only the beginning.

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