Forget the problem of health insurance.
For seven million Americans, the bigger problem is the lack of primary care physicians (PCPs).
And health care reform’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) could make it worse.
A study published in Health Affairs predicts critical shortages of primary care physicians after the enactment of PPACA’s health insurance requirements.
Researchers identify five states that will be hit the hardest, as illustrated below.
And here I sit in Idaho. I cannot say I’m surprised.
I have had quite the transition in health insurance when I moved from California to Idaho.
The lack of competition in the health insurance industry and the low rates paid to Idaho physicians makes it difficult for health care professionals to survive.
According to the study, two factors affect the above states more than other states.
- The number of uninsured, (which should change in 2014 with PPACA’s insurance requirements)
- The existing capacity in the states for primary care services
The researchers assume most states will be able to handle the increased demand, and offered the following estimates.
What Physician Shortage?
In the same health journal, Health Affairs, is a study by a mathematician who argues “the sky is not falling” on primary care.
As reported in a Washington Post article, Linda Green, who the article states has been studying the health care system for decades, believes changes in the delivery of health care will support increases in primary care services.
According to the article, the view of the number-cruncher is two trends change the landscape.
The first is physician pooling, in which doctors join forces, creating larger organizations.
The second factor is the rise in the number of mid-level providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Isn’t that just like the health care industry?
- One side presents study results
- Only to have another entity dismiss the findings as false
Reminds you of the debate over who should and should not have mammograms.
Bottom line – no one knows with any certainty what the fallout from health care reform will be or how health care will be delivered in the future.
It’s enough to make you sick.
Personally, I’d rather work on being the healthiest I can be. You in?
Icons in infographic from BigStock Photo
Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.