It seems that a shortage of doctors will be an obstacle for the Obama administration, according to this NYT's article:
Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.
The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans...
To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods.
I have a few thoughts. First of all, who the heck wants to be a doctor anymore? The regulations and bureaucracy are stifling. Perhaps making practicing medicine less onerous would be a good step in putting more doctors to work, but that's hard to fathom, given the push towards nationalized health care and even more regulation.
Second, it is a concern that more nurse practitioners and physician assistants would be used. While they are often good, they should not substitute for a doctor in many instances. I spoke to a radiologist recently who said he was slowly getting out of the field and that the coming trend would be for nurse practitioners and others to fill in and that soon, that is mainly who patients will be seeing. Those of us with complicated medical histories should be concerned, if not alarmed.
Finally, many people have no idea what they are getting into here with the push towards nationalized health care. Most people have never really
been sick, and haven't experienced what it is like to have to wait for care, be seen by those who are incompetent or inexperienced, or who are rushed and unable to find the time to sit down and figure out what is going on medically with a patient. It is about to get a whole lot worse with more government intervention, not better. But at least some people can feel good about themselves, and tell themselves that at least all will be covered--and a Utopian ideal can be marked off the wishlist.
Labels: health care