'Mr. President: About that national health care idea you have...

The best laid plans of mice and men...

It appears that President Obama's grandiose plans to remake the American health care has hit something of a snag.

It's really just a minor point but perhaps one of his aides - who, after all, serves in a government that by their own admission is now "smart" - might have told him before he made such a big deal about the issue that there was only one, small, eentsy bitsy problem with nationalizing health insurance; after years of their allies, the trial lawyers, running up huge judgments against them and frustrated to no end by mountains of government red tape, so many doctors have quit in disgust that now there aren't enough to handle the expeted massive increase due to expanding insurance rolls.

Robert Pear writing with unintentional irony in the New York Times explains:

Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors - a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

Some of the proposed solutions, while advancing one of President Obama's goals, could frustrate others. Increasing the supply of doctors, for example, would increase access to care but could make it more difficult to rein in costs.

The need for more doctors comes up at almost every Congressional hearing and White House forum on health care. "We're not producing enough primary care physicians," Mr. Obama said at one forum. "The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they've got to specialize." New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

Lawmakers from both parties say the shortage of health care professionals is already having serious consequences. "We don't have enough doctors in primary care or in any specialty," said Representative Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada.

Well, duh. Government interference in health care is a direct cause of this crisis - and, of course, trial lawyers who make it their business to enrich themselves to the tune of multi-million dollar settlements when a medical outcome is not to a patient's liking. Certainly there are incompetent physicians that must be penalized and even kicked out of the profession. But the majority of suits are initiated by patients who see doctors as an easy mark and more often than not, a physician's insurance company will settle even a bogus suit rather than pursue the matter in court.

And there's also the massive interference by government already in the decision making process - especially for primary care physicians who often want to send their patient to a specialist for another opinion or for specialized treatment only to find Medicare denying the request. Is it any wonder no one wants to be a family doctor? Less pay, more government headaches, and sky high insurance rates all combine to make the primary care physician a disappearing breed.

How much worse do you think the problem will get once this government insurance boondoggle gets going? It will be so bad that, like rationing medical services eventually, the government will have to force medical students to become primary care physicians. And they will have to cut pay for all doctors someday as well.

The juggernaut of national health insurance is rolling and consequences like these are being ignored in the rush to pass it.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

It appears that President Obama's grandiose plans to remake the American health care has hit something of a snag.

It's really just a minor point but perhaps one of his aides - who, after all, serves in a government that by their own admission is now "smart" - might have told him before he made such a big deal about the issue that there was only one, small, eentsy bitsy problem with nationalizing health insurance; after years of their allies, the trial lawyers, running up huge judgments against them and frustrated to no end by mountains of government red tape, so many doctors have quit in disgust that now there aren't enough to handle the expeted massive increase due to expanding insurance rolls.

Robert Pear writing with unintentional irony in the New York Times explains:

Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors - a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

Some of the proposed solutions, while advancing one of President Obama's goals, could frustrate others. Increasing the supply of doctors, for example, would increase access to care but could make it more difficult to rein in costs.

The need for more doctors comes up at almost every Congressional hearing and White House forum on health care. "We're not producing enough primary care physicians," Mr. Obama said at one forum. "The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they've got to specialize." New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

Lawmakers from both parties say the shortage of health care professionals is already having serious consequences. "We don't have enough doctors in primary care or in any specialty," said Representative Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada.

Well, duh. Government interference in health care is a direct cause of this crisis - and, of course, trial lawyers who make it their business to enrich themselves to the tune of multi-million dollar settlements when a medical outcome is not to a patient's liking. Certainly there are incompetent physicians that must be penalized and even kicked out of the profession. But the majority of suits are initiated by patients who see doctors as an easy mark and more often than not, a physician's insurance company will settle even a bogus suit rather than pursue the matter in court.

And there's also the massive interference by government already in the decision making process - especially for primary care physicians who often want to send their patient to a specialist for another opinion or for specialized treatment only to find Medicare denying the request. Is it any wonder no one wants to be a family doctor? Less pay, more government headaches, and sky high insurance rates all combine to make the primary care physician a disappearing breed.

How much worse do you think the problem will get once this government insurance boondoggle gets going? It will be so bad that, like rationing medical services eventually, the government will have to force medical students to become primary care physicians. And they will have to cut pay for all doctors someday as well.

The juggernaut of national health insurance is rolling and consequences like these are being ignored in the rush to pass it.