Sunday, July 29, 2012

What part of “Demand” don’t those in the Media Get?

Over and over we see the sad story of how the Affordable Care Act will create a massive doctor shortage. But shortages create demand, and demand has the desired effect of infusing a new supply of doctors into the profession. We’ll likely see higher incomes for those primary care practitioners as well when comparing them to past levels.

So this isn’t bad news, it’s called “job creation,” and isn’t that the big story?
NY Times: Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law: The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the health care law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000. A study by the Medical Group Management Association found that in 2010, primary care doctors made about $200,000 a year. Specialists often made twice as much.

The Obama administration has sought to ease the shortage. The health care law increases Medicaid’s primary care payment rates in 2013 and 2014. It also includes money to train new primary care doctors, reward them for working in underserved communities and strengthen community health centers.
Demand and the new results based business model for health care might be the solution, with additional changes made when necessary. The idea that the baby boomers would drive up demand should not be a surprise to anyone, hell, we saw this coming for the last fifty years.

What we need is a national health care policy encouraging the training of more physicians. And that’s what the Affordable Care Act provides, for now, until the Republicans decide such forward thinking is best left to the whims of the free market. And that's what we have already, with shortages. 

1 comment:

  1. In regards to providing health care the supposed "free market" economy doesn't work, as it is incapable of responding to demand. What happened to the all-knowing invisible hand?

    The fact is that free market economics is bunk, nothing more than a con that covers up the reality of rigged markets on every level that is doing to healthcare what it has done to the financial system.