ObamaCare’s Most Frightening Consequence: Not Enough Doctors

ObamaCare’s defenders promised the law would increase patient access to care, but a closer look shows that increased regulations combined with higher demand for health services could cause many physicians to give up practicing medicine.
“You are seeing a change that I haven’t seen in my over 30 years in the practice of medicine,” said Tennessee GOP Rep. Phil Roe, who worked as an OB/GYN before getting into politics.  “I think what you are going to see is people going in to see a nurse practitioner, not a medical doctor, as has been the case for decades.”
According to Roe, Medicare will pay doctors less than Medicaid by 2020 should ObamaCare remain in place, which means that doctor who runs a solo practice with three employees and who grosses $300,000 could see a 30% cut in his reimbursements.
Doctor who use approximately half of their gross receipts on paying overhead costs would still have to do so even when their reimbursements are cut.
“His cut will be $50,000, meaning instead of making $150,000, he will only be making 50 or less,” Roe said.  “It only takes a year or less of that to see why they are terrified of this.
“They have bills to pay.  They have mortgages.  They have school loans.”
Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price, a fellow physician in the House Republican caucus, warns regulations will also cause doctors to change their minds about staying in medicine because they will make doctor-patient interactions more difficult.
“There will be limitations on medications that will be available, and shortages of medications through the FDA,” Price said.  “Surgeries will have to postponed because of a lack of medications needed to put patients to sleep, damaging the quality of the care that is received.”
Price complains the regulations even come between patients and doctors when it comes to things as routine as how a doctor has to fill out paperwork to order oxygen tanks for patients who need them.
A November 2010 Physicians Foundation Survey underscored this when it found that 56% of doctors it surveyed anticipate the health care law will diminish the quality of care they can give their patients.  A further 40% of physicians said they planned to retire, seek a nonclinical job in the health care field or leave the medical profession altogether.
A Galen Institute Study also found that ObamaCare’s regulations likely would force countless aspiring doctors to forgo entering the profession at a time when demand for care is on the rise.
“PPACA [ObamaCare] will strip away physician autonomy, drown doctors in bureaucracy and drain job satisfaction,” Dr. Jason Fodeman wrote in an April 2011 study for the Galen Institute.  “As the profession deteriorates, older doctors will retire while younger doctors will look to switch careers.
“Many students considering a career in medicine will pursue other opportunities.”
According to Roe, only 4% of the nation’s students are getting into primary care fields.
A survey by the Associations of American Medical Colleges found the nation’s doctor shortage likely will increase the project shortfall of 62,900 doctors in 2016 to 91,500 in 2020.
“When these older doctors who are used to working 70 or 80 hours quit, I don’t know what we are going to do for internists and primary care,” Roe said.
The Galen Institute Study reports that Massachusetts, which many believe to be a precursor to ObamaCare, has seen a big reduction in doctor willingness to take on new patients.  In 2007, the state’s Division of Health Care Finance and Policy Reported that 70% of general practitioners were willing to accept new patients in 2007, but that has declined to 60%.  And today only 44% of internal medicine practitioners in the Bay State have indicated a willingness to take on new patients—down from 66% in 2005, before the state’s health care law took effect.
“Waiting times have increased even more since RomneyCare was passed,” said Cato Institute health care expert Michael Cannon.  “And since government has inflated demand even more, it hasn’t done anything more to meet that quantity demanded versus the supply.  Therefore, you get that sort of shortage.”
The  Massachusetts Medical Society’s 2009 Physician Workforce Study found that the time needed to recruit physicians into specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, orthopedics and neurosurgery had significantly increased in the three years following the implementation of the state’s health care reform law.
“It remains to be seen how the federal government will deal with this imminent fiasco on the national level,” Fodeman wrote.  “Obviously the administration can’t make doctors practice, nor can it make people attend medical school.
“The likely solution will be a combination of rationing and an increased reliance on mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”
And the law’s defenders can only counter that the law provides for an increase of the number of graduate medical training positions, increases scholarships available for teaching centers in rural areas and provides state grants to increase access to care in rural areas.

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  • Staff America’s

    If you’ve been following the website, Doctor Dorin
    and his all-volunteer efforts have been saying this very same thing for a year.
    Obamacare will destroy medicine as we know it; quality physician care and routine
    access to medical doctors–as opposed to non-physician ‘providers’–will become a
    thing of the past in America.

  • HOO

    With the Government takeover of Medicine most doctors will dread requests for new patients because Obamacare is so profoundly abusive to Doctors and patients. I’ve been a practicing MD for decades and I do not recommend that anyone go to medical school. If you do not know how bad it’s going to be you’ve got your head in the sand. 


    1. It is Unconstitutional (ILLEGAL) and Anti-constitutional (ANTI-AMERICAN) 

    A. Article 6 of the United States Constitution states that all of the members of BOTH houses of Congress “be bound by oath or affirmation” to support the Constitution. A PRINCIPLED member of Congress would feel duty bound to vote against any proposed legislation that violated that sacred oath or affirmation. Three Clauses in the Constitution are IMPROPERLY cited by proponents of the Nationalization of Health Care as granting the Congress the right to Nationalize Health Care.

    1. The “General Welfare Clause” – This clause gives Congress the power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”
    This clause is NOT a grant of Power to Congress. It is a LIMIT to a power given to Congress: It LIMITS the purpose for which Congress can lay and collect Taxes.

    2. The “Necessary and Proper” Clause ” gives Congress the power “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States.” Like the General Welfare Clause, this clause was not a stand alone grant of power to Congress. Rather it authorizes Congress to make laws that are necessary (and also proper) to make other grants of authority in Article 1 effectual. So the Necessary and Proper clause cannot itself authorize national public health insurance. One would have to show that national public health insurance is necessary and proper to execute some other power granted in the Constitution.

    3. “The Commerce Clause” ” gives Congress the power to “ regulate commerce…among the states.” It was designed to prevent some states from taxing goods that passed through their boundaries on the way to
    market. To Create and Engage in Commerce (National Health Insurance) is NOT the same thing as regulating commerce.

    B. It is Anti-Constitutional.  Obamacare’s passage would guarantee the eventual destruction of all important Guarantees of individual Liberty and Limited Government made by the Constitution. 

    2. It is IMMORAL for one group of citizens to abolish the rights and liberties of fellow Human Beings who have violated no law.
    3. It is an act of THEFT from our Children of the labor they will be performing for their families and their country. It is the selling of our children into partial slavery. It insures that each child born in America will have an enormous debt to pay for substandard services they did not request. 
    4. It STEALS our children’s precious freedom to make basic decisions about the well- being of their bodies and minds and gives these stolen powers to government bureaucrats. It promotes the creation of more bureaucrats.
    5. It ASSIGNS to the State the power of life and death over citizens who have committed no crime.
    6. It is DESTRUCTIVE to the basic work of the Health Care Professional whose sole ethical responsibility must be to the Patient, a principle encapsulated in the Hippocratic Oath.
    7. It DESTROYS incentive for independent and corporate scientific investigation into Human health and disease.
    8. It proposes Government SEIZURE of the property of health care professionals. 
    9. The process of its coming to a vote is CONTEMPTUOUS of US Citizens and their elected representatives.
    10. Proponents make outrageous statements about cutting the cost of Government “health care” by eliminating “fraud, waste, and abuse.” They claim to be able to do this so massively and so easily that their program will cost essentially NOTHING. This contrasts with figures prepared by economists projecting a cost of $1-2 Trillion Dollars. When Medicaid was first proposed its increasing annual cost to the Taxpayers was estimated to be 1/9 of the actual eventual annual cost. 
    11. Proponents deny the existence of Death Panels in their plans. Health costs cannot possibly be contained other than through rationing and rationing means allowing bureaucrats to place differing values on different people’s lives according to age, overall health, etc. These decisions will result in the earlier deaths of some people than would otherwise have occurred. If this cannot be called a Death Panel then what could be?
    12. Proponents are attempting to collectivize Doctors. In 1930’s in Russia Stalin essentially declared that the Soviet agriculture system was ‘broken’ and therefore had to be placed under central government control. A famine with 10 million Russian deaths ensued. Proponents are attempting to declare government OWNERSHIP of Doctors including to authority to CONTROL them in every possible way.
    13. Despite proposing to OWN Doctors as Government SLAVES proponents emphasize that Doctors could STILL BE SUED for unlimited damages. Not even the slave owners of the Old South were this abusive.
    14. The architect of Obamacare is Ezekiel Emanuel, a so called Bioethicist who believes that the Hippocratic Oath is the CAUSE of America’s “broken” Health Care System! He recommends that physicians renounce the oath in favor of a commitment to “Society.”
    15. Nowhere in the Constitution is it suggested that Government is allowed to order its Citizens to purchase something.
    16. Congressional Proponents want nothing to do with government healthcare for themselves and their families yet they want it to be forced on Americans who they know do not want it.

  • A_Proud_Infidel

    Obamacare, the abomination that will give American medical care all of the efficiency of the DMV office and all of the friendliness of the IRS!!

  • Mike_Stephens

    Look at the former Soviet Union for lessons here. When it broke apart countries such as Ukraine started to implement capitalism but kept the national health care system. Doctor’s pay is fixed and many doctors left the field for better opportunity. Rationing began as the people smart enough to be doctors left the field in droves.

    Rationing will be a very fast effect of Obamacare as is beginning in MA. Government needs to get out of this business now or medicine will be run like the post office. People from around the world come here for medical reasons. This income from other countries will grind to a halt because excellence will be rationed and only the ruling class will get good service.

    Obama is a socialist and wants the defeat of capitalism by government regulation. Socialism always fails and this is a place where it will effect everyone. THROW ALL THE PROGRESSIVES OUT, freedom works! 2012 is critical, I hope you will all educate your friends, family and neighbors that the constitution was brilliant and is needed now more than ever.

  • Eldon DeKay

    This has been one of the arguments I have been advocating for some time.  I have worked in socialized medicine.  The demand becomes huge because when care is free, every snotty nose gets a visit to the doctor, but there is already a doctor shortage……so where do the doctors come from to fill the void?  The government will try to buy more doctors by paying their school costs, and may even open up their own school (Like the Armed Forces Medical School).  As happened in England when it became unprofitable there to be a physician as they embarked on the same voyage we appear to be headed for, the government will likely import doctors from…..India, China, etc.  The best and the brightest will no longer feel it worth the work to struggle through 9 years plus of college, medical school, and internship without a paycheck only to enter private practice with the expectation of going broke trying to pay off school loans and buy your first home, car, etc. at the age of 30+. The next step is for the government to own the hospitals, and the costs fly into the ionosphere while the quality plummets.  Ask an English physician how many hours a week he works.  40. maybe.  And an American physician? 60 or 80? 

  • Duncan Jones

    You know, I agree with virtually all of your post.  You say: “I will vote for a candidate that wants to protect our economic well being even though it may mean I don’t get benefits until I’m 68 instead of 65.”  Well so will I.  I’d go further and put the benefit age at 70.  I’d go for a several thousand dollar Medicare deductible.  But this article is all about protecting “entitlements” even though it’s masquerading as a piece for “conservatives.”    This exemplifies the article: “Medicare will pay doctors less than Medicaid by 2020 should ObamaCare remain in place, which means that doctor who runs a solo practice with three employees and who grosses $300,000 could see a 30% cut in his reimbursements.”  I have to tell you.  I have no patience (no pun intended) for doctors that whine about reductions in *their* publicly-funded entitlement payments.  The medical profession has operated as a protected cartel for decades, one which has successfully propagated the lie that all sorts of horrid things will happen if doctors start making $150K to $300K per year at the median instead of their current $200K to $400K.  Probably 10,000 qualified med-school applicants are turned away every year in this country because the AMA artificially restrains the available supply of med school seats.  Address this one issue, and you’ll address the shortage of doctors.  I also have no problem receiving my primary care from nurse practitioners or PAs, and even limiting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for primary care to NP or PA levels.      

  • truth

    A doctor from France says:”In France , the medicine is so advanced that
    we cut off a man’s testicles; we put them into another man, and in 6 weeks he is looking for work.”

    A German doctor comments quietly : “That’s nothing, in Germany we take
    part of the brain out of a person; we put it into another person head,
    and in 4 weeks he is looking for work.”

    A Russian doctor says
    boasting :”That’s nothing either. In Russia we take out half of the
    heart from a person; we put it into another person’s chest, and in 2
    weeks he is looking for work.”

    The U.S. doctor laughs and
    answers loudly immediately: “That’s nothing my colleagues, you are way
    behind us….in the USA , about 5 years ago, we grabbed a person from
    Kenya with no brains, no heart, and no balls….we made him President of
    the United States, and now……. the whole damn country is looking for