Tag: socialized medical systems

Well, DUH!

Becoming a doctor is not an easy thing to do. You have to be gifted with a lot of mental acumen, work like a dog to have the grades to get into Med school (unless you can ride the affirmative action bus it seems), and have the constitution of a bull to make it through the internship process. And you pay through the nose to have this experience. It’s not uncommon for someone to finish their med school experience, anywhere from being a generalist to a specialist, with anywhere from $200-$500K in debt. And then come the years of brutal work, mostly to pay this debt off. Even becoming a nurse is a painful and expensive process. There is nothing easy or simple about the medical profession, where even the smallest and most mundane tasks and choices can have life threatening or ending consequences, so the education required – by law – to qualify is daunting, and access is heavily controlled.

Of course, your average progressive feels that nobody but the minimum wage earners, certainly not people in a profession where they are custodians of the ill, and definitely not your pampered doctors which should be doing things out of the goodness of their heart, should be paid big money. Profit is evil. After all, healthcare is a right, and nobody should be profiting from any other’s misfortune! It just flies in the face of the unicorn fart sniffers that anybody but the political oligarchy can make a fiscal windfall from their hard labor and years of sacrifice. So, we should not be surprised that as the left pushes harder and harder for control of healthcare to end up being a “service sector” dominated by their idiotic beliefs and controlled by government, that we end up with a doctor shortage, exacerbated by the evils of Obamacare:

Last week, an investigative report revealed that 1,700 veterans who wanted to see a doctor at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital were missing from an official waiting list, mirroring a tactic used at two dozen other facilities across the country to mask long waits for medical care.

A few hundred other people are missing from the Veterans Affairs system, too: doctors. he Veterans Affairs Department is 400 doctors short, The New York Times reports. But the doctor deficit is not limited to the VA—it’s a nationwide problem.

America is running out of doctors. The country will be 91,500 physicians short of what it needs to treat patients by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. By 2025, it will be short 130,600.

Like at the Veterans Affairs Department, demand will be highest for primary-care physicians, the kinds of doctors many people go to first before they are referred to specialists.

While students are applying to and enrolling in medical schools in record numbers, high interest does not necessarily mean more doctors. The number of residences—crucial stages of medical training—has not risen with the number of applicants, thanks to a government-imposed cap. The Association of American Medical Colleges has pushed Congress to change the law, predicting that there won’t be enough residencies for young doctors by next year.

Meanwhile, the number of patients is increasing. Millions of previously uninsured Americans are now able to seek medical care under the Affordable Care Act. Baby boomers are getting older and racking up new ailments, which means they making more trips to the doctor’s office. (The boomers who are doctors themselves are nearing retirement age.)

And both insured and uninsured Americans—including veterans—are sicker now than ever before.

Yeah, this all bodes well for us. The debacle at the VA is just a sneak peak at a fraction of how bad Obamacare will turn out for those of us forced to depend on government controlled healthcare. The idiots that dislike the private sector’s involvement in healthcare – because of profits – never seem to grasp the concept that while the private sector can be regulated and dissatisfied customers can choose to go elsewhere, both of those two critical mechanisms vanish when government controls healthcare. And nobody is pettier and more prone to corruption and evil than your average government bureaucrat.

Welcome to the future. Enjoy your doctor while you still have a choice and can get to one. Get used to the idea of those death panels the left gets so pissed off about when we point out that’s the logical conclusion of their policies, because they are coming our way.

About That Efficient Medicare

Medicare is wonderfully efficient. It spends so much less on administration than those evil … what was that?

Much has been said about the growing gap between the program’s spending and revenues — a gap that will widen as baby boomers retire — but little attention has been focused on a problem staring us in the face: Medicare spends a fortune each year on procedures that have no proven benefit and should not be covered.

Read the whole thing. Medicare routinely pays for diagnostic tests at ages long past when those tests are useful and procedures that have been shown to have limited effectiveness. They are estimating that Medicare spends between $75 and $150 billion unnecessarily. I have no idea how this overlaps with the $50-100 billion they spend on fraud. Let’s just take a happy medium — say that fraud and waste cost the taxpayers $100 billion a year, 20% of Medicare’s budget. That’s what we get for those “low administrative costs” (which aren’t really so low).

Only part of this waste is from a lack of review. Another part is because Congress simply refuses to do anything about it. And the Democrats are already trying to disable the cost controls Obamacare put into the Medicare system. Less than a year later and they’re weaseling out of any restraint on how much healthcare seniors can use. As is usual these days, the media reports this problem as “unexpected” even though people like me (and the CBO) totally expected it.

Ezra Klein ran a graphic the other day showing that all the world’s socialized medical systems spend less than we do. But this is only true because those nations — which are much smaller and have more centralized authority — have the guts to actually ration care. Our Congress has demonstrated no such ability and its doubtful that they can. America is not Europe.

I’ve said for a while now that the most dangerous thing about government healthcare isn’t that it will ration care; the most dangerous thing is that it won’t and will drive us to bankruptcy. Well, looks like we’re headed down that path.