Irish Government Doctors Go on Strike
Government doctors at all of Ireland's public hospitals held a one-day strike this week, in a "long-running dispute" over government-mandated work hours:
... doctors are routinely required to be available for work for stretches of as many as 36 hours straight, and can work 100 hours a week, breaching European employment law and putting patients' safety at risk.
The Wall Street Journal's Eamon Quinn reports that the Irish Medical Organization, a trade union for doctors, said the strike would result in "only limited emergency cover at 51 hospitals, marking an escalation in their long-running dispute."
The Journal calls the strike a "rare instance of action taken against the government employer" but also notes that it reflects a "growing impatience with austerity among public-sector workers."
BBC News said the strike had postponed 3,000 operations and that "[p]ublic hospitals will operate the same level of service usually provided on a Sunday," while The Irish Times focuses on settling the dispute and "avoiding a second strike."
Ireland has some 51 public and 21 private hospitals, with public hospitals run either directly by the government Health Service Executive or by voluntary organizations that are funded mainly by the government.
Ireland's unionized government doctors could be a harbinger of things to come under ObamaCare in this country.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that the United States faces a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020, and as many as 130,000 by 2025, due to "a tsunami of retiring baby boomers and the newly insured under ObamaCare."
A recent CNN article by Jen Christensen suggests the "coming flood of newly insured patients may crash the U.S. health care system," just as it is now crashing the government insurance exchanges.
CNN quotes a Lexington, Kentucky hospital doctor (parenthesis in original):
I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines," Stanton said. "The coming storm of patients means when they can't get in to see a primary care physician, even more people will end up with me in the emergency room.
Fox News's Jim Angle quotes a Washington hospital official:
... one of the great misconceptions about ObamaCare is that just because you have health insurance, you'll therefore get adequate health care and you'll have access to it. I think nothing could be further from the truth.
Fox observes that under universal coverage in Massachusetts, there is a two-month wait to see a new doctor in Boston -- "the longest wait in the country," and an outcome we can expect to see more of under ObamaCare.
More money spent training doctors and nurses and less money spent on IRS agents and government bureaucrats would be a step in the right direction.
While waiting for that to happen, we can adapt Ronald Reagan's "nine most terrifying words in the English language":
"I'm the government doctor, and I'm here to help you."