Posts Tagged ‘retire’

ObamaCare Driving Essential Primary Care Physicans Out Of Medicine

April 25, 2010

Does this sound good to you?

Sign Of Times Under ObamaCare: ‘The Doctor Is Out — Permanently’
By SALLY C. PIPES Posted 06:51 PM ET

President Barack Obama’s health care bill aims to achieve universal coverage while at the same time reducing costs. In reality, this contradictory strategy will ensure that Americans enjoy less health care, of poorer quality, and from fewer doctors.

And while the full effects of ObamaCare might not be felt until Tax Day 2014, the promise of free health care to millions of Americans will begin to prove hollow long before then.

Already Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., says the public option might not be dead if insurance companies do not offer competitive rates within the exchanges. And Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has revived a proposal that gives the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block any rate increase bound to be “unreasonable.”

America’s primary care system is already under stress. Low reimbursement rates, bureaucratic paperwork and long hours are driving family physicians out of medicine and pushing new doctors into specialized practices. Half a century ago, one in two doctors practiced general medicine. Today, 7 in 10 specialize.

And the gap is growing. A mere 1 in 12 medical-school graduates now head to family medicine. In 2009, the American Academy of Family Physicians warned that we’d be short 40,000 family doctors in a decade, if present trends continued. Today, medical schools produce one primary care doctor for every two who are needed.

ObamaCare will add strain to an already burdened system. The new bill seeks to increase the load on family doctors while holding the line on costs by putting price controls on government insurance plans. In due course, price controls on private plans will be inevitable.

We saw them come into effect on April 1 in Massachusetts, when the state Division of Insurance rejected 235 of 274 premium increases proposed by insurers for individuals and small businesses. The rate increases — ranging from 8% to 32% — were deemed excessive.

The combination of increased coverage and emphasis on primary care, experts say, will increase demand for primary care docs by as much as 29%, or 44,000 doctors, over the next 15 years.

But just as demand is increasing, doctors are making plans to exit. A 2009 survey by medical recruiters Merritt Hawkins found that 10% of respondents were planning to leave medicine within three years.

Another poll of physicians conducted in 2009 by Investor’s Business Daily found that 45% of doctors would consider early retirement if ObamaCare passed.

Obama and the Democrats lied about their ObamaCare boondoggle reducing the costs of healthcare.  It RAISES the cost of healthcare by $311 billion when the last thing we need is more out-of-control government spending.

We also find that basically one out of every six hospitals (fifteen percent) are probably going to close under ObamaCare as they get nickeled and dimed right out of business.

Then you add the fact that doctors are saying that they are going to leave medicine in droves as they similarly get nickeled and dimed and regulated out of medicine.

So we’re talking about adding millions of new patients (including illegal immigrants, almost certainly), while dramatically reducing the number of doctors and hospitals who would treat those patients.

If I wanted to crash the American health care system, that’s pretty much how I’d do it.

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ObamaCare Factoid: Access To Health Care Doesn’t Mean Squat When Hospitals, Doctors And Pharmacists Bail

March 22, 2010

As an introduction, let me just say this: In this article, I detail that doctors and hospitals and pharmacies are going to bail out of Medicare and Medicaid – if they don’t just go out of business altogether.  They aren’t bailing out on private insurers – the free market businesses that Obama and the Democrats have continuously demonized and demagogued – they’re bailing out on the very government health care systems that liberals want to erect in the place of the free market health care system that they are destroying.  And as a matter of fact, the poorest and neediest are the ones who will likely suffer the most due to this terrible ObamaCare bill.

Congratulations, Democrats.  Thanks to the passage of ObamaCare, you and all your useless slacker friends who love to parasitically leach off of society will have access to health care.

Mind you, that “access” won’t mean squat as doctors, pharmacies, etc. stop accepting patients from Obama and his crappy government.

Don’t believe me?  Well, here’s some info from the New York Times:

EARLY this year, Barbara Plumb, a freelance editor and writer in New York who is on Medicare, received a disturbing letter. Her gynecologist informed her that she was opting out of Medicare. When Ms. Plumb asked her primary-care doctor to recommend another gynecologist who took Medicare, the doctor responded that she didn’t know any — and that if Ms. Plumb found one she liked, could she call and tell her the name?

Many people, just as they become eligible for Medicare, discover that the insurance rug has been pulled out from under them. Some doctors — often internists but also gastroenterologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists  and other specialists — are no longer accepting Medicare, either because they have opted out of the insurance system or they are not accepting new patients with Medicare coverage. The doctors’ reasons: reimbursement rates are too low and paperwork too much of a hassle.

When shopping for a doctor, ask if he or she is enrolled with Medicare. If the answer is no, that doctor has opted out of the system. Those who are enrolled fall into two categories, participating and nonparticipating. The latter receive a lower reimbursement from Medicare, and the patient has to pick up more of the bill.

Doctors who have opted out of Medicare can charge whatever they want, but they cannot bill Medicare for reimbursement, nor may their patients. Medigap, or supplemental insurance, policies usually do not provide coverage when Medicare doesn’t, so the entire bill is the patient’s responsibility.

The solution to this problem is to find doctors who accept Medicare insurance — and to do it well before reaching age 65. But that is not always easy, especially if you are looking for an internist, a primary care doctor who deals with adults. Of the 93 internists affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, for example, only 37 accept Medicare, according to the hospital’s Web site.

Two trends are converging: there is a shortage of internists nationally — the American College of Physicians, the organization for internists, estimates that by 2025 there will be 35,000 to 45,000 fewer than the population needs — and internists are increasingly unwilling to accept new Medicare patients.

Sorry to throw you out on your ass, old timer.  But the government health care system sucks, and Zero is going to make it even suckier.

And here’s how Zero will make it suckier:

Updated January 14, 2010
Why Doctors Are Abandoning Medicare
By C.L. Gray, M.D.
FOXNews.com

Physicians will not be bullied into bankruptcy. Our system needs reform, but what’s being hammered out in Washington is not the answer.

Two weeks ago the Mayo Clinic shocked the nation when it closed the doors of one of its Arizona clinics to patients on Medicare. Just this past June President Obama himself praised Mayo as a model of medical efficiency noting that Mayo gives “the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” If Mayo feels compelled to walk away from this government-run program, others will surely follow. The nation must understand why.

Doctors are leaving Medicare for two reasons: one obvious, the other more concealed.

The first is simple—the math
:

1) For the past decade Medicare consistently paid physicians 20% less than traditional insurance companies for identical service.

2) On January 1, 2010 Washington made hidden cuts to Medicare by altering its billing codes.

3) Medicare will cut physician reimbursement by another 21% on March 1. The CBO said this cut must take place if the Senate healthcare bill was to “reduced the deficit.”

4) Even more, Congress pledged to cut Medicare by yet another $500 billion. Again, the CBO said this additional cut must take place if the Senate healthcare bill was to “reduced the deficit.”
Many physicians were operating at a loss even before this series of massive cuts. In 2008, Mayo Clinic posted an $840 million loss in caring for Medicare patients. No businesses can survive when patient care expenses exceed revenue.

The second is more ominous—Washington’s increasingly abusive posture toward physicians.

President Obama reflected this attitude last summer. On national television, he stated as fact a surgeon is paid between $30,000 and $50,000 for amputating a patient’s foot.

In reality, a surgeon is paid between $740 and $1,140 to perform this unfortunate, but often life-saving procedure. This reimbursement must cover a pre-operative evaluation the day of surgery, the surgery, and follow-up for 90 days after surgery—not to mention malpractice insurance, salaries for clinic nurses, and clinic overhead. It is frightening to think our president is so wildly misinformed even as he stands on the cusp of overhauling American health care. But it gets worse.

Given massive federal deficits, Washington now faces increasing pressure to cut Medicare spending. One way to do this is to intimidate physicians into under-billing. To do this Washington intends to spend tax payer dollars to ramp up physician audits using Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC audits) to randomly investigate private physician’s Medicare billing.

A physician group at my hospital recently experienced an AdvanceMed audit, an earlier version of the RAC. For a year Medicare auditors made their practice a living hell, making them question if it was worth caring for Medicare patients at all. [click to keep reading]

Do you remember that bit about the Mayo Clinic no longer accepting Medicare patients in Arizona?  That’s a trend the rest of the country is going to follow.  From the Wall Street Journal:

President Obama last year praised the Mayo Clinic as a “classic example” of how a health-care provider can offer “better outcomes” at lower cost. Then what should Americans think about the famous Minnesota medical center’s decision to take fewer Medicare patients?

Specifically, Mayo said last week it will no longer accept Medicare patients at one of its primary care clinics in Arizona. Mayo said the decision is part of a two-year pilot program to determine if it should also drop Medicare patients at other facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, which serve more than 500,000 seniors.

Mayo says it lost $840 million last year treating Medicare patients, the result of the program’s low reimbursement rates. Its hospital and four clinics in Arizona—including the Glendale facility—lost $120 million. Providers like Mayo swallow some of these Medicare losses, while also shifting the cost by charging more to private patients and insurers.

Sorry, senior.  But you can’t get your prescriptions refilled, either.  From the Seattle Times:

Walgreens will stop taking new Medicaid patients in Washington state as of April 16, saying it loses money filling their prescriptions.

Effective April 16, Walgreens drugstores across the state won’t take any new Medicaid patients, saying that filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition — the latest development in an ongoing dispute over Medicaid reimbursement.

Now that ObamaCare has passed, get ready to see more and more doctors say bye-bye:

If ObamaCare passes, you may lose your family doctor.  Oh, and good luck finding a new one.

That’s the stunning conclusion of a new study by the Medicus Firm, as reported by Recruiting Physicians Today, a newletter published by the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine.  Medicus, a national physician search firm, surveyed 1,195 practicing physicians about the health reform plans pending in Congress.  The doctors, representing a wide range of specialties and career levels, were asked to assess the possible impact of ObamaCare on their careers, including “income, job satisfaction, and future career plans.”1

The bottom line of that investigation, titled Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care, is summed up by Medicus managing partner Steve Marsh:  “What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer.  The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients.”2

Why?  Put simply, doctors fear that ObamaCare would make the business and practice of medicine more trouble than it’s worth.  The surveyed physicians foresee in their future under ObamaCare a decrease in income coupled with an increased work load, a toxic combination of new regulations and taxes plus millions of newly insured individuals swelling their patient rosters.

The doctors assessed the possible impact of several iterations of ObamaCare.  For example, 72 percent felt their income would decrease under a health reform bill that included a public option, while 50 percent predicted a decrease in income under a health reform regime without a public option.

Not surprisingly, “an overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform” as opposed to the massive, one-size fits all plans favored by the President and Congressional leaders.3 An astonishing 46 percent of responding primary care physicians claim they would leave or try to leave medicine as a result of ObamaCare, gravely exacerbating the existing shortage of primary care doctors (according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the number of U.S. medical school students choosing primary care has already dropped 52 percent since 1997).4

The Medicus results echo a similar Investors Business Daily poll of over 1,000 practicing physicians, 65 percent of whom expressed opposition to the President’s health reform plan, and 72 percent of whom doubted the administration’s claim that the government could significantly expand coverage and provide better care at lower costThe IBD poll, conducted in September of 2009, also found a startling number of physicians, 45 percent, who would consider quitting if ObamaCare becomes law.  The grim conclusion of the IBD survey:  “Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted.”5

If ObamaCare would drive practicing doctors out of work, it would also devastate efforts to recruit new physicians.  After all, how do you persuade talented young people to enter a business that promises high taxes, regulation, risk and stress – without commensurate compensation? For the average health care consumer, the result of this shrinking pool of physicians would be long waits and rationed care, to say nothing of overworked, unhappy doctors.

A CNN Money article details that children and the poorest and most vulnerable adults are going to increasingly suffer as doctors bail out of Medicaid.

There’s another inherent rub there.  Democrats pitched ObamaCare as taking care of “47 million Americans” who can’t afford insurance.  But the poor always had access to coverage under Medicaid.  The only reason many of these people don’t use Medicaid is because the government program is such a total disaster, or they can’t find a doctor who will lose money treating them.

I’ll quote myself from an earlier article to make a couple more points about the “47 million Americans” lie:

If you believe that the government is going to create a trillion dollar entitlement that ensures 47 million more people – (John Larson, chairman of the Democratic caucus, used the “47 million” figure on ABCs “This Week” just yesterday; he used it again on CNNs “State of the Union”) and spends less money than is spent now, you are an abject fool.

And that “47 million” clearly includes 17 million illegal immigrants.  The Democrats’ incredibly cynical plan is to take health resources from you and from your children and grandchildren and give those resources to illegal immigrants so they can capture the Hispanic vote.

The bottom line about ObamaCare is that it is a government program, in which the government demonizes and destroys the private system of insurers and doctors and hospitals and pharmacists that make the system work, and offer in its place an utter disaster.

This ObamaCare boondoggle is going to be a holocaust.  God only knows how many people – especially the poorest and most vulnerable – are going to die.  It’s going to be legalized murder.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  I don’t think the Democrats’ intentions are all that good, but I do know that this is a road – scratch that, a superhighway – to hell.

Breast Cancer Screening: Government Fires First Volley Of Rationing, Death By Medical Neglect

November 19, 2009

Let me begin by saying that the current versions of ObamaCare don’t have a single death panel.

It’s more like 111 separate death panels.

Some of the names  and acronyms of the dozens and dozens of bureaucracies are undoubtedly different under the new iteration of socialized medicine, but here’s a snapshot of your new health care system if Democrats get their way:

The Senate version is 2,075 pages of fun, I hear.  Nobody understands it.  And nobody is going to end up getting a chance to read it by the time it gets voted on.

If you thought that there was going to be any kind of transparency or accountability – or even honesty – from the Obama administration – you need to stop smoking your crack pipe.

This latest event in the march toward socialized medicine reminds me of the case of Barbara Wagner.  In Oregon, which has “universal coverage” through the state, she was abandoned to die by a system that would not pay for her cancer treatment, but offered to pay for her euthanasia.

Only this time, the government wants to deny treatment on the other side of the cancer diagnosis.

IBD Editorials

Rationing’s First Step

Health Care: A government task force has decided that women need fewer mammograms and later in life. Shouldn’t that be between patient and physician? We have seen the future of health care, and it doesn’t work.

We have warned repeatedly that the net results of health care bills before Congress will be higher demand, fewer doctors, more cost control, all leading to rationing.  New recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding breast cancer and the necessity for early and frequent mammograms do not convince us otherwise.

Just six months ago, the panel, which works under the Health and Human Services Department as a “best practices” study group, was shouting its concern about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a 1% drop in the number of women regularly undergoing such screening and prevention.

The task force was saying that women older than 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years. It found that frequent screening lowered death rates from breast cancer mostly for women ages 50 to 69. But that was then, and this is now.

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does save lives,” Diana Petiti, task force vice chairman, said of the recommendations published Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening.”

Now the panel recommends that women in their 40s stop having routine annual mammograms and that older women should cut back to every two years. The concern allegedly is that too frequent testing can result in increased anxiety, false positives, unneeded follow-up tests and possibly disfiguring biopsies.  Preventing breast cancer and saving lives almost get lost in the new analysis.

“I have a particular concern in this case about who was involved in this task force,” says Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., who was a heart surgeon in private life. “There are no surgeons or oncologists who deal directly with breast cancer or even radiologists. … I’ve seen far too many young women develop late-stage breast cancer because they didn’t have adequate screening.”

Little, if anything, has happened medically in the last six months to cause such a shift. A lot, however, has happened politically as a health care overhaul has limped forward on life support. The Congressional Budget Office has been busy pricing these various bills, a process that includes screening and prevention.

As we have warned, the growing emphasis seems to be on cost containment rather than quality of care. About 39 million women undergo mammograms each year in America, costing the health care system more than $5 billion.

“The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40,” says Otis Brawley, its chief medical officer. “Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider.”

Daniel Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School, says: “Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and those idiots want to do away with it. It’s crazy — unethical, really.”

This, sadly, appears to be the future of medicine under government-run health care. Aside from taxes on insurers, providers and device manufacturers, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in cost-effectiveness boards that will decide who gets what tests and treatments, when and if. These are only recommendations for now, but they are the shape of things to come.

An IBD/TIPP poll found that 45% of medical doctors would consider retiring if the Congressional health care “reform” passes.  Given the fact that an increasing shortage of doctors is already one of the chief burdens in providing health care, this exodus would amount to a catastrophe that our health system would never recover from.

In Canada, the chronic doctor shortage has been bad enough that patients literally have to sign up for a lottery in order to have a chance to “win” a primary care physician.  But now we are learning that overwhelmed Canadian doctors are using a lottery of their own to dump patients.

Why on earth would anyone want this for America?

The Obama administration is preparing the health delivery system to implement the philosophy of Obama advisers such as Robert Reich, Ezekiel Emanuel, and Cass Sunstein, which can be easily summarized with the quote:

It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Robert Reich’s words in context only make the hateful idea sound even more hateful:

And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Then there are the words of Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, who wrote:

“I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

And Rahm Emanuel’s brother Ezekiel, whom Obama appointed as his OMB health policy adviser in addition to selecting him to serve on the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research wrote:

“When implemented, the Complete Lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuatedThe Complete Lives system justifies preference to younger people because of priority to the worst-off rather than instrumental value.”

“Attenuated” means, “to make thin; to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value.”  Attenuated care would be reduced or lessened care.  Dare I say it, in this context it clearly means, “rationed care.”

And Obama himself told a woman who wanted to keep her aging mother alive:

“At least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”

YOU take the painkiller rather than have that lifesaving surgery, Barry Hussein.  And why don’t you insist that Michelle and your two daughters take the pill rather than have that lifesaving surgery, too?  Just to be like all the “little people” out there.

But of course that’s not going to happen.  Rather, Democrats have now exempted themselves from 11 separate amendments that would have required them to have the same ObamaCare that they want to force everyone else to have.

You can understand why they would do so, given the promises that the system will be worse than terrible, and due to the fact that even a complete idiot who looks around and sees how horribly the administration has managed the H1N1 vaccine situation can recognize that taking on 1/6th of the economy would be beyond catastrophic.  I mean, heck, if I were a Democrat, I’d be sure to exempt myself from this monstrosity too, lest MY family members fall under the coming steamroller.

This “recommendation” of reducing mammographies isn’t mandatory now, but that’s because the government hasn’t usurped the health care system yet.  You just wait a decade from now, when the government runs everything, and soaring deficits force them to start cutting costs.

Why Won’t Obama Invite The Doctors Who Will Resign If His Health Agenda Passes?

October 12, 2009

Michelle Malkin had the best title for the propaganda event that saw white-coated doctors milling around on the White House lawn: “Spin Doctors for Obamacare.”  She said:

Creators Syndicate – Lights, camera, agitprop! The curtains opened on yet another artfully staged performance of Obamacare Theater this week. One hundred and fifty doctors took their places on the plush lawn outside the West Wing — many acting like “Twilight” groupies with cameras instead of credible medical professionals. The president approved the scenery: “I am thrilled to have all of you here today, and you look very spiffy in your coats.”

White House wardrobe assistants guaranteed the “spiffy.” As the New York Post’s Charles Hurt reported, the physicians “were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image.”  President Obama’s aides hastily handed out costumes to those who came in suits or dresses before the doc-and-pony show began.

But while Halloween came early to the Potomac, these partisan single-payer activists in White House-supplied clothing aren’t fooling anyone.

Obama’s spin doctors belong to a group called Doctors for America (DFA), which reportedly supplied the white lab coats.  The White House event was organized in conjunction with DFA and Organizing for America, Obama’s campaign outfit.

OFA and DFA are behind a massive new Obamacare ad campaign, letter-writing campaign and doctor-recruitment campaign. The supposedly “grassroots” nonprofit DFA is a spin-off of Doctors for Obama, a 2008 campaign arm that aggressively pushed the Democrats’ government health care takeover. DFA claims to have thousands of members with a “variety of backgrounds.” But there’s little diversity in their views on socialized medicine (98 percent want a taxpayer-funded public insurance option) — or in their political contributions.

And she went on to document what a bunch of political hacks the “Doctors for Obama” and various “spin doctor” groups mentioned above had been for Obama and the Democrats.

Gateway Pundit revealed the typical Obama White House hypocrisy of this event:

What the media won’t tell you is that the doctors were former members of the “Doctors for Obama” organization.

150 doctors including supporters from Doctors for America, the former Doctors for Obama organization, assembled on the White House lawn today for a Astroturfed show with the president.

The operational word is “Astroturf.”  As angry as the Democrats have been about “Astroturfing,” they sure have done a lot of it.  We’ve had the children of high level Obama supporters planted to ask planted questions at Astroturf health care town halls to go with the busloads of union thugs being sent even across state lines to attend town halls.  We’ve had Astroturf former Obama delegates fraudulently pretending to be doctors at town hall events.  And now we have real, but still Astroturf doctors being brought in for Astroturf photo-ops – complete with Astroturf white coats.

The truly dishonest thing was when Barack Obama deceitfully misrepresented these doctors to claim that they somehow represented the medical mainstream.  Obama said:

“When you cut through all the noise and all the distractions that are out there, I think what’s most telling is that some of the people who are most supportive of reform are the very medical professionals who know the health-care system best,” the president said.

But when you actually realize what is happening, you find that this scripted – and even costumed – White House event is an all too typical example of the “noise” and “distractions” coming from the very guy who is complaining about the “noise and distractions.”

My question to Obama is, “WHAT ABOUT THESE FOLKS?

45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul

By TERRY JONES, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY Posted 09/15/2009
Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors’ own lobby — the powerful American Medical Association — both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.

It also calls into question whether an overhaul is even doable; 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration’s claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.

The IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted by mail the past two weeks, with 1,376 practicing physicians chosen randomly throughout the country taking part. Responses are still coming in, and doctors’ positions on related topics — including the impact of an overhaul on senior care, medical school applications and drug development — will be covered later in this series.

Major findings included:

Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration’s claims that doctors are part of an “unprecedented coalition” supporting a medical overhaul.

It also differs with findings of a poll released Monday by National Public Radio that suggests a “majority of physicians want public and private insurance options,” and clashes with media reports such as Tuesday’s front-page story in the Los Angeles Times with the headline “Doctors Go For Obama’s Reform.”

Nowhere in the Times story does it say doctors as a whole back the overhaul. It says only that the AMA — the “association representing the nation’s physicians” and what “many still regard as the country’s premier lobbying force” — is “lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama’s sweeping plan.”

The AMA, in fact, represents approximately 18% of physicians and has been hit with a number of defections by members opposed to the AMA’s support of Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul.

Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.

More than 800,000 doctors were practicing in 2006, the government says. Projecting the poll’s finding onto that population, 360,000 doctors would consider quitting.

More than seven in 10 doctors, or 71% — the most lopsided response in the poll — answered “no” when asked if they believed “the government can cover 47 million more people and that it will cost less money and the quality of care will be better.”

This response is consistent with critics who complain that the administration and congressional Democrats have yet to explain how, even with the current number of physicians and nurses, they can cover more people and lower the cost at the same time.

The only way, the critics contend, is by rationing care — giving it to some and denying it to others. That cuts against another claim by plan supporters — that care would be better.

IBD/TIPP’s finding that many doctors could leave the business suggests that such rationing could be more severe than even critics believe.  Rationing is one of the drawbacks associated with government plans in countries such as Canada and the U.K. Stories about growing waiting lists for badly needed care, horror stories of care gone wrong, babies born on sidewalks, and even people dying as a result of care delayed or denied are rife.

In this country, the number of doctors is already lagging population growth.

From 2003 to 2006, the number of active physicians in the U.S. grew by just 0.8% a year, adding a total of 25,700 doctors.

Recent population growth has been 1% a year. Patients, in short, are already being added faster than physicians, creating a medical bottleneck.

The great concern is that, with increased mandates, lower pay and less freedom to practice, doctors could abandon medicine in droves, as the IBD/TIPP Poll suggests. Under the proposed medical overhaul, an additional 47 million people would have to be cared for — an 18% increase in patient loads, without an equivalent increase in doctors. The actual effect could be somewhat less because a significant share of the uninsured already get care.

Even so, the government vows to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from health care spending to pay for reform, which would encourage a flight from the profession.

The U.S. today has just 2.4 physicians per 1,000 population — below the median of 3.1 for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the official club of wealthy nations.

Adding millions of patients to physicians’ caseloads would threaten to overwhelm the system. Medical gatekeepers would have to deny care to large numbers of people. That means care would have to be rationed.

“It’s like giving everyone free bus passes, but there are only two buses,” Dr. Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told the Associated Press. [Link added].

Hope for a surge in new doctors may be misplaced. A recent study from the Association of American Medical Colleges found steadily declining enrollment in medical schools since 1980.

The study found that, just with current patient demand, the U.S. will have 159,000 fewer doctors than it needs by 2025. Unless corrected, that would make some sort of medical rationing or long waiting lists almost mandatory.

[Snip]

Other states with government-run or mandated health insurance systems, including Maine, Tennessee and Hawaii, have been forced to cut back services and coverage.

This experience has been repeated in other countries where a form of nationalized care is common. In particular, many nationalized health systems seem to have trouble finding enough doctors to meet demand.

In Britain, a lack of practicing physicians means the country has had to import thousands of foreign doctors to care for patients in the National Health Service.

“A third of (British) primary care trusts are flying in (general practitioners) from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland” because of a doctor shortage, a recent story in the British Daily Mail noted.

British doctors, demoralized by long hours and burdensome rules, simply refuse to see patients at nights and weekends.

Likewise, Canadian physicians who have to deal with the stringent rules and income limits imposed by that country’s national health plan have emigrated in droves to other countries, including the U.S.

ObamaCare is all about rationing.

Doctors will begin retiring in droves because government-funded healthcare already has them operating at a loss.  On average, Medicare only pays 93% of the COST of providing care.  Doctors and hospitals subsidize Medicare patients at a loss by counting on private insurance-covered patients to allow them to operate at an overall profit.  If you expand government-covered patients, and reduce the role of private insurance, medical practice will simply become unprofitable.  Hence the mass retirements as physicians stop swimming against the tide of government red-tape and low-balling and just quit.

Why doesn’t Obama invite these doctors to the White House.  They can even give them white coats when they get there, to look more “doctorly” like they did with the pro-ObamaCare doctors.

If Obama had the best interests for the nation in his heart, he would want to hear from these doctors.  Instead, he’s doing everything in his power to shut such professionals out of the debate while he tries to ram his ideological and partisan agenda through.

ObamaCare will cost this country hundreds of billions – and over time trillions – of dollars at a time when we can least afford it, even as its imposition results in thousands of doctors choosing to retire at a time when we can least afford it.