Predictable: Medicaid Expansion Could Cause Bigger Doc Shortage

As it is, there is already a dearth of doctors and medical facilities that accept Medicaid. Why?

(NY Times) Dr. Ted Mazer is one of the few ear, nose and throat specialists in this region who treat low-income people on Medicaid, so many of his patients travel long distances to see him.

But now, as California’s Medicaid program is preparing for a major expansion under President Obama’s health care law, Dr. Mazer says he cannot accept additional patients under the government insurance program for a simple reason: It does not pay enough.

And there it is. I know liberals like to think otherwise (except for those liberals who are in the medical profession), but medical professionals aren’t in business to lose money. They have huge costs to run their businesses, much less the student loans. They won’t stay in business if they lose lots and lots of money.

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“It’s a bad situation that is likely to be made worse,” he said.

His view is shared by many doctors around the country. Medicaid for years has struggled with a shortage of doctors willing to accept its low reimbursement rates and red tape, forcing many patients to wait for care, particularly from specialists like Dr. Mazer.

Yet in just five weeks, millions of additional Americans will be covered by the program, many of them older people with an array of health problems. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that nine million people will gain coverage through Medicaid next year alone. In many of the 26 states expanding the program, the newly eligible have been flocking to sign up.

The primary “success” of Obamacare since the Exchanges went live is the huge number of people who have been put on Medicaid. They’re not getting traditional insurance as they apply, which is surely what most were attempting to sign up for. The number of docs who accept Medicaid is already low, and many will either refuse to accept any more Medicaid patients, or only accept a few. This means long, long waits to see medical professionals for Medicaid patients.

As for this being in the NY Times, now they tell us. But, who could have predicted that Obamacare would create long waiting lines and limited medical facilities? Oh, that’s right, everyone who cast a critical eye at the legislation.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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