Monday, December 2, 2013

Forcing Doctors To See Obamacare Patients?

In his 11/25/2013 Forbes column, Merrill Matthews asks a darned good question: "When Will The Government Start Forcing Doctors To See Obamacare Patients?"

Given the worsening doctor shortage and the influx of newly-insured patients under ObamaCare, something is going to have to give.  Some possibilities include:

1) More patients will get their care from mid-level providers such as Physician Assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs), only seeing an MD when their condition is deemed sufficiently severe.

2) Patients will get "shared medical appointments", where multiple patients see one doctor at the same time.

3) Doctors will not be allowed to turn away patients with ObamaCare insurance (or government Medicare/Medicaid coverage).

We're not yet at that last step.  But some trial balloons have been floated in Massachusetts.  And a candidate for the Virginia state legislature recently made a similar proposal.

This gives rise to a natural question: Do you really want a doctor taking care of you who is doing so only because he's forced to by the government?

Don't expect this issue to go away.