Perhaps contributing to President Obama’s recent dip in North Carolina opinion polls is that more people are realizing the “universal coverage” provided by Obamacare does not mean universal access to medical care.
In other words, expanding (by force) insurance coverage for tens of millions more Americans will drive up demand for medical care. Conversely, “cost control” efforts will reduce provider reimbursement rates causing a decline in doctors and hospitals. As this article reports, the federal Health and Human Services department just issued a report which suggests a couple of things that critics have been asserting for more than a year. First, that Obamacare will not generate the promised cost savings:
Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department concluded in a report issued Thursday that the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million to the coverage rolls.
But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.
More to the point of this post, however, is the Medicare’s Office of the Actuary report that concludes: “Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.”
I’ve written previously about the already low Medicare reimbursement rates causing the well-known Mayo Clinic to begin closing its doors to Medicare patients because of the financial losses incurred by the program’s enrollees.
Moreover, there is the projected massive doctor shortage that will be seriously worsened by the passage of Obamacare.
The consensus generally indicates that health reform will exacerbate current or looming physician shortages across the country, particularly in primary care. Long term, the nation may see a shortage of about 160,000 physicians by 2025, reports the American Medical News.
Although the health law includes provisions to get more medical students enrolled, states worry they may not be able to beat the clock.