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by
Rick Moran

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April 20, 2014 - 10:49 am

It’s called “Medical Homelessness” and its just the latest Obamacare SNAFU to make anyone who purchased a policy from healthcare.gov or the state exchanges wonder about the sanity of lawmakers who voted for this monstrosity.

As was pointed out at the time Obamacare was passed, the United States currently has a shortage of primary care physicians — and it’s getting worse. By 2020, there will be 45,000 fewer primary care physicians than are needed — a problem exacerbated by the fact that most physicians do not accept Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement levels.

As Californians are discovering, thousands of doctors aren’t accepting any patients with an Obamacare policy.

KPIX reports:

While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”

Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.

Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.

But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.

Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?

“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.

Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.

And Nguyen says – while the free clinic isn’t technically supposed to be treating former patents they signed up for insurance, they can’t in good faith turn them away.

Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors.

“Insurance coverage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to assure that people get access to care when they need it,” Grumbach said.

Those who can’t find a doctor are supposed to lodge a complaint with state regulators, who have been denying the existence of a doctor shortage for months.

Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments.

“What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said.

Ms. Nguyen has discovered the secret of Big Government. Obamacare is a Potemkin Village, all pretty and enticing on the outside, but look behind it and you find nothing except high deductibles, bad coverage, and bewildering requirements.

And it’s only going to get worse, says Kaiser:

There are various reasons for the shortages. Certainly a big contributor is the aging of the baby boomers, who may still love rock ‘n roll but increasingly need hearing aids to enjoy it. The growing medical needs of that large age group are creating a huge burden for the existing health care workforce. The retirement of many doctors in the boomer cohort is compounding the problem.

The federal government estimates the physician supply will increase by 7 percent in the next 10 years. But the number of Americans over 65 will grow by about 36 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Money also is a factor in the shortages. During the course of their careers, primary care physicians earn around $3 million less than their colleagues in specialty fields, which makes primary care a less appealing path for many medical students.

In mental health, the problem is that much of the work is in the public sector, where the pay is far less than it is for providers in other medical specialties, who tend to work in the private sector. As an example, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, a registered nurse working in mental health earns $42,987 as compared to the national average for nurses of $66,530.
Valuing Work-Life Balance

But financial factors are not the leading reason that medical students are avoiding primary care, Mitchell said. In surveys of medical students conducted by AAMC, students valued “work-life balance” more than money when they were choosing their specialties. Because primary care often involves long hours and night and weekend calls, it is far less desirable to this generation of students.

“Half of the physicians in training are women,” Mitchell said. “You find more of them are looking for a career that might be compatible with part-time hours, that don’t involve being on call. Men are more engaged in child care today, and they have similar concerns as they consider their career choices.”

Even before Obamacare was implemented, the statistics were grim for the newly insured:

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency charged with improving access to health care, nearly 20 percent of Americans live in areas with an insufficient number of primary care doctors. Sixteen percent live in areas with too few dentists and a whopping 30 percent are in areas that are short of mental health providers. Under federal guidelines, there should be no more than 3,500 people for each primary care provider; no more than 5,000 people for each dental provider; and no more than 30,000 people for each mental health provider.

So even if you’re lucky enough to find a doctor that treats those with Obamacare policies, chances are good to excellent you will wait forever for routine exams and services.

The problem is widespread but doesn’t affect everyone. California appears to be having major problems with their physician listings because insurance bureaucrats apparently placed doctors on the list who had no intention of participating in the Obamacare program:

Many independent and small-practice doctors throughout California are in for a rude awakening as they learn that Obamacare will require them to provide medical services without full financial reimbursement from the government. CBS San Francisco reports that the “Covered California” Obamacare exchange is now automatically enrolling doctors who not only never signed up for the program but never intended to because, ironically, they cannot afford to do so under the program’s reimbursement scheme.

KPIX 5′s ConsumerWatch recently interviewed some of the doctors whose names were suddenly appearing on the Covered California Exchange as providers, even though these doctors never actually signed up to be providers. Many of these doctors say they are witnessing a flood of new patients that they cannot afford to treat, because the Obamacare reimbursement scheme only covers a very small portion of the actual costs associated with medical treatments.

Unlike doctors who are associated with large medical groups, and in turn have more clout in negotiating higher reimbursement rates, independent physicians are getting the short end of the stick. It simply is not possible for these smaller providers to offer services to newly covered Obamacare recipients, for which only a very small fraction of the associated costs can be recuperated under the government insurance scam.

Even if Obamacare is repealed, the problems associated with a dearth of primary care physicians will continue. The ACA provided funding for the training of more primary care doctors, but the program was cut substantially to get the total cost of Obamacare under a trillion dollars (on paper).

However it is accomplished, the critical need for primary care physicians must be addressed in the near future or health care will decline even further than it has under Obamacare.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
RomneyCare was about 80 pages long. Obumblercare is almost 3,000 pages long. That alone should be a big clue that they aren't the same. Plus the big majority of the people of Massawhatsis wanted it. The majority of American's don't want ObumblerCare. Plus Obama told all manner of lies and is still lying. Don't give me flimflam about ObumblerCare really being a Republican idea.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fundamental lie that lies at the heart of Obamacare, is that health care insurance = quality health care.

It doesn't.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
ObamaCare in a nutshell: Don't ever get sick until about 5 minutes before you are ready to die.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (41)
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30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't tak O Care. In fact, I take no insurance. My fees are very low,but I get paid.Still,the er's a role for charity. I npicked up a patient with no funds and I know how to write no charge
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
ACA (Obamacare) ignores the problem of incentives for people to become doctors. Why should anyone become a doctor, with the long training time, including residencies, and the expense of medical school?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's an insult to refer to Physicians and Surgeons as "providers".

Your mother provided............your physician renders a service.........
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
while working in B.H. as an associate to a dentist that was respected world wide, had dental instruments named for him and mingled with the 1% of the 1%, his dental treatment rooms had a sign for his patients to read prior to entering.

You can have quality of care,
you can have speed of treatment
you can have low costs. BUT YOU CAN ONLY PICK TWO>

With obamacare you get to pick none.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The federal government estimates the physician supply will increase by 7 percent in the next 10 years..."

This is fantasy. In the last couple of years there have been surveys of doctors in which something like 40% of them said that they were considering retiring early, leaving the profession, or doing something completely different within the healthcare industry. As the chaos of Obamacare continues to unfold, it can only make being a doctor suck even more. Expect to see a mass exodus and eternal waiting lists, like they have in Canada and elsewhere.

Thanks, Democrats, for taking what was the best healthcare system in the world, although not cheap, and in all likelihood turning it into the worst system outside of the third world. Practically overnight.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doctors are being replaced by PAs, NPs, CNAs and other techs. Good luck in finding a real physician as time goes on. Soon, only the very wealthy or Democrat insiders will have access. Get used to the new normal.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
This would be less of a problem if physicians didn't have government enforced legal monopoly over access to medical drugs. Government created the problem in the first place by destroying a true free market in health care back in 1938. Prior to that time, you could purchase any medical drug at your local drug store. The druggist would assist you if needed, even to the point of compounding a mixture of medicines to better fit your need.

Naturally this effected the incomes of doctors as could be expected. However doctors had their "union", the American Medical Association, formed back in 1846, lobby Congress with the idea that only doctors were competent enough to prescribe medicine. Much as a lawyers have done with the law, much as teachers have done through their own professional organization. No different really from the success of organized labor in the 1930's to get the FDR administration to pass the Wagner Act, which effectively "legalized" the organization of labor unions and their tactics used to bargain with employers.

All Obamacare does is to take money from some people and give to others so that they can afford medical treatment from members of the "medical monopoly". In other words, Obama didn't "fix" the problem of excessive health care costs generated by our government "protected" medical monopoly, all he did was to make it possible to help pay for it.

On the other hand libertarians believe in eliminating government "protectionism" in all its aspects. This would make it possible for people to take care of many of their medical problems by themselves or with the assistance of druggists as was the practice prior to the passage of prescription laws. Without possessing the power to control access to medical drugs, there would be no "shortage" of primary care physicians because they would no longer enjoy the legal monopoly that they enjoy today over access to medical drugs.

Once you remove all government enforced monopolies, the cost of living will fall by well over a trillion dollars a year if not more. I'm sure we'd have better uses for that money than paying it out to monopolists!
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
how else would one assess the knowledge of another to prescribe potentially LETHAL compounds to a loved one
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
and what has drugs to do with finding a doctor.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doesn't the AMA, or similar bodies, restrict the "supply" of doctors so that prices are artificially supported?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
prices are artificially supported by the government getting involved with health insurance, and demanding that others pick up the costs of so many.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder how many who cannot find a doctor voted for FCMABBHO. Serves 'em right.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, and the idiots who cannot find a doctor, who did not vote for FCMABBHO whatever that means, serves 'em right too.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
For now.

Anybody doubt that it will become mandatory to take ACA patients to either get your medical license or keep the one you have now?

What's that you say? No quality people will want to be doctors?

So what...we'll do what the NHS does and import as many foreign doctors as we need from every 3rd World craphole we can find.

But don't worry, there will be enough good doctors and resources for the those with the juice.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's already happening. The Marxists are past masters at manipulating people into accepting the "new normal". Those who resist will be squeezed into compliance. Remember that most people can adjust to concentration camp life given enough time and "incentives".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the great things about the United States is lots of government functions including medical licensing occur at the state level.

The more likely way the federal government would try to force doctors to accept ACA patients is to withhold compensation for some other category of patient. The political class is basically pushing the middle class down into the Medicaid lower-tier of medical care. Conservatives need to give the middle class the opportunity to escape from government specified insurance and doctors and move up to world of cash medicine, medical savings accounts, and low-cost catastrophic insurance.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good point George.

The US medical system is dependent on recruiting the best and brightest from overseas. We have never produced enough to fill the need. The problem now is that there will not be enough to attract those people, and the hoops they must jump though to get here. Our own are less attracted. It is a multi year commitment for an FMG to even get here and start a practice.

Heck, we cannot even produce the most common medical diagnostic isotope (Mo/Tc) here. When the Canadian reactor closes, a whole critical component of the hospital shuts down, and it happens. Critical drugs and equipment would shut down in days without resupply from outside the USA.

It is a logistic nightmare. Our medical system would collapse in short order if the US were blockaded and isolated.

Well, the Navy and our awesome military and political leaders gonna keep that supply line open. That is what we trusted them to do when they got the votes.

When we need a replacement part from Toshiba or Siemens overnight from Japan or Germany, to keep the Cardiologist going for the next procedure so the fluoroscope works, we got that covered, or maybe not.

Medicine is not corn flakes.




31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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