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Doctor shortage is coming
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Dr. Tom Delbanco, a professor of general medicine and primary care at Harvard Medical School, approves of certain sections of Obamacare, but raises a critical matter that has been largely unreported about primary care doctors, whom he describes as "the pediatricians, family doctors and internists who constitute the foundation of our medical system."He worries that "as the new health care exchanges offer affordable insurance to more and more Americans, there is risk that a flood of new patients may overwhelm the already-besieged primary care workforce."Since Obamacare's health care cost-cutting rules do not focus on the differences among individual patients, Dr. Delbanco makes a point that We The People must keep in mind as Obamacare takes over many of our lives:"Numbers such as blood pressures, sugar or lipid levels tell only part of the story for individuals whose genes, cultural habits, psyches and social circumstances vary widely." Gathering this information will be a waste of time and costs in the Obamacare system. But as I can demonstrate from my own experience with my longtime primary care physician, his focus on the individuality of his patients keeps strengthening the quality of my life.So I was not surprised to see this report from Tom Howell Jr. in The Washington Times: "The United States needs 16,000 more primary care physicians to meet its current health needs, a problem that will only get worse if nothing is done to accommodate millions of newly insured residents under President Obama's health care law in the coming decade.”Sanders added that "the lack of primary care offices hits rural regions and low-income urban areas the hardest, and will turn into a crisis if lawmakers and the industry do not address the problem before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands coverage to 30 million more Americans."Dig these numbers from a recent health care survey conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions: "Nearly three-quarters of physicians (higher among surgical specialists at 81 percent) think the best and brightest students may not consider a career in medicine ... while more than half believe that physicians will retire (62 percent) or scale back practice hours (55 percent) based on how the future of medicine is changing."As a voter in future congressional and presidential elections, how much time will you spend carefully fact-checking candidates' records fighting what Obama has done to turn more of our health care system into cost-efficient (and sometimes) end-of-life rulings by the Independent Payment Advisory Board?Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.

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