To no one’s surprise, millions more Americans are expected to seek medical treatment under the recently enacted Affordable Care Law (Obamacare). That will bring hardship to many of those Americans finding easy access to a doctor.
Presently, approximately 20 percent of Americans currently reside in U.S. locations suffering from an insufficient number of primary care physicians. Nearly 30 percent live in areas that are short of mental health providers, period.
Shockingly, two states in particular are in dire straits, Louisiana and Mississippi, where remarkably more than half the population live in areas with far too few healthcare providers, according to Stateline, a publication of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Furthermore, The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) now estimates the possibility of a shortage of 45,000 primary care doctors in the United States by 2020. Add to that a shortfall of 46,000 specialists and it becomes a medical crisis of massive proportions.
Already many primary care doctors refuse Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates. That number will dramatically increase with the newly signed Obamacare insured being covered through Medicaid.
Long waits to to obtain a doctor appointment are predicted for the expected 36 million predicted to sign up for Obamacare.
According to Stateline, in the next decade the number of baby boomers reaching 65 will increase by 36 percent while the number of doctors will rise buy a mere 7 percent.
Making the situation worse, many physicians will choose to retire rather than face the added headaches and paperwork the new law brings. Fewer medical students will be opting for primary care in favor of specialties.
"A steady stream of negative attention has made medicine in general a far less attractive career choice than it once was. Insurance headaches, pricey technologies, long hours and the risk of liability have convinced many talented students to eschew medicine as a career choice," Stateline noted.
The bad news extends to the dental profession.
According to Linda Rosenberg, president of the National Council for Behavioral Health, “In the meantime, people are going to suffer."
Is Congress paying attention before it’s too late?
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