Motive Power

Before you can have health care, you must have doctors — ipso facto, yes?

Government can’t just conjure up trained medical professionals by fiat, not like Ben Bernanke can snap his fingers and make $600,000,000,000 totally real and valuable dollars appear out of nowhere, thanks to his totally magic Federal Reserve pixie dust. The President can’t just make doctors treat patients by sheer force of personality, like he got the Winter Olympics to come to Chicago. Congress can’t just whip up doctors and nurses by passing a law, like it made all those stimulus jobs appear… and, oh, never mind — you get the point.

My point is this:

The Physicians Foundation asked 2,400 doctors and American Medical Association members what they thought of the new law; a full 67 percent were against it.

More important, it asked how they’d cope with the new rules (which don’t fully kick in until 2014). Sixty percent said they feel compelled to “close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients.” And 59 percent said the “reform” would oblige them to spend less time with the patients they do have.

Of course, many doctors already limit how many patients they’ll take on who depend on government insurance (whose fees rarely cover an MD’s costs). But it’ll get worse under ObamaCare: In the survey, some 87 percent said they would significantly restrict Medicare patients and 93 percent said they’d significantly restrict Medicaid patients.

How can the government claim its health programs are popular when folks who would actually deliver care are running away? I’m not worried about physicians (we’ll find ways to survive), but about our patients.

All in all, the survey found that 74 percent of doctors will alter how they practice.

So just maybe it turns out the government rationing of stuff results in less… stuff.