I’m not certain everyone is ignoring the problem, but like tort reform, the expected shortage of physicians does not seem to be an issue politicians are willing to discuss. Doctors are aging and retiring, while baby boomers are getting older and will need more care. Create an atmosphere where the profession is attacked rather than praised, and we have a problem Houston.
A couple of lines popped out at me last night while reading Herbert Pardes opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled The Coming Shortage of Doctors. Congress continues to consider a health care plan to fix the crisis that really does not exist. Yes, I know, some people are unable to pay health care insurance premiums and not everything is covered 100 percent, but everyone does currently have access to health care.
My point is that without the service side of the equation – enough doctors – you may not have access to any health care at all.
Even in the absence of health-care reform, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the U.S. will face a shortage of at least 125,000 physicians by 2025. We have about 700,000 active physicians today. One factor driving this shortage is that the baby-boomer generation is getting older and will require more care. By 2025 the number of people over 65 will have increased by about 75% of what it is today—to 64 million from 37 million today.
Doctors are also aging. By 2020, as many as one-third of the physicians currently practicing will likely retire. If health-care reform adds millions of people to the health-care market, the shortage of doctors will be even greater than it is projected to be now.
Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I consider my own ability to access health care – even with insurance – when I get into my 60s in less than 20 years.
Maybe if I take an EMT course or something so I can treat myself…
So why is it Congress is refusing to deal with a serious problem that actually may be worthy of the “crisis” label? You can not deny the probability Congress does not care about providing quality health care to Americans. This power grab has more to do with just that – a liberty and freedom power grab – than providing care for Americans.
Limbaugh is right. If the federal government controls health care, they control you. Their power becomes even more wide-ranging than they have now and America as we knew it will be gone.
Update: WTNH News Channel 8 in Connecticut will be featuring a news report tonight on why physicians are disappearing from the state. Too late for me to watch, but it may be interesting.