Saturday, April 05, 2008

Unintended Consequence: Shortages, Long Waits

NY TIMES: AMHERST, MASS.Once they discover that she is Dr. Kate, the supplicants line up to approach at dinner parties and ballet recitals. Surely, they suggest to Dr. Katherine J. Atkinson, a family physician here, she might find a way to move them up her lengthy waiting list for new patients.

Those fortunate enough to make it soon learn they face another long wait: Dr. Atkinson’s next opening for a physical is not until early May — of 2009.

In pockets of the United States, rural and urban, a confluence of market and medical forces has been widening the gap between the supply of primary care physicians and the demand for their services. Now in Massachusetts, in an unintended consequence of universal coverage, the imbalance is being exacerbated by the state’s new law requiring residents to have health insurance.

Comment: Wow, a one-year wait for a physical in Massachusetts, that sounds like Canada! This story reminded me of an old joke about the Soviet Union. A guy goes into a Soviet car dealer and orders a Lada (pictured above). The salesman says "Your car will be ready two years from today, you can pick it up then." The customer says "Will it be ready in the morning or the afternoon on that day?" The salesman asks "What difference does that make, it is two years from now." The customer replies "Well, the plumber is scheduled to come in the morning on that day."

13 Comments:

At 4/05/2008 7:46 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Unintended, maybe, but it can't be unexpected. In England (been there!) universal health care guarantees everyone a place on a waiting list. Politicians make careers running on a promise to reduce the waiting lists. They can't. They don't have the resources to keep their promises.

 
At 4/05/2008 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think America's healthcare system is the world's best? Think again

Compare the U.S. to other industrialized nations and:

1 You are more likely to die of a treatable condition.

2 You pay outrageous prices for shoddy service.

3 Our healthcare is primitive in its use of information technology.

4 Many people suffer because they cannot afford medical care.

Only Canada had longer waiting lists than the U.S.

 
At 4/05/2008 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea.

"As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care," said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. "More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem."

 
At 4/05/2008 9:04 PM, Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Only Canada had longer waiting lists than the U.S.

I must be one of the lucky blessed few. I've never had to wait to see a physician, my wife survived what could have been a lethal heart attack last year due the skill, compassion and excellent facilities of our local hostpital.

I'm nobody special, I live in north-east Wisconsin, so what are we doing so right here?

 
At 4/05/2008 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wow, a one-year wait for a physical in Massachusetts, that sounds like Canada!"

Wow is right! I can believe how you fall for such a simple and flawed analysis.

Massachusetts doesn't have universal health care. :)

It has a law in place that requires all adults in the state to purchase some kind of insurance policy or face a fine.

 
At 4/05/2008 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

brian dunbar...the experience of one does not equal the experience of all. Doh!

 
At 4/06/2008 8:26 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Yes indeed anon @ 8:45 PM, nothing like going to the source for idiots' health care for a description of an alledged problem: "You are more likely to die of a treatable condition"...

From your link: "In a Health Affairs article earlier this year, British researchers ranked leading industrialized nations on the rate of preventable deaths"...

Right... LOL!

"You pay outrageous prices for shoddy service"...

Hmmm, where's Steve Jacob's credible source for the alledged, "$6,697 per capita for healthcare," let alone supposedly shoddy health care? Is Jacob still the same, "shoddy socialist," source, the Brits?

"Our healthcare is primitive in its use of information technology"...

This couldn't be of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 being overseen by the Dept. of Health & Human Services, could it?

A Constitutionally questionable bureaucracy mandating reams of paperwork from doctors under penalty of law might be the problem, eh?

"Many people suffer because they cannot afford medical care"...

Who's fault is that? Are YOU going to volunteer to cover these people's medical care or health insurance?

Meanwhile how about a bit of history in the real world?

From Aug/ 24, 2000: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons says: DOCS SHOULD QUIT MEDICARE, SAYS LEADING DOCTORS’ GROUP

From the Jan. 30, 2002 issue of the Seattle Times: Many doctors opting out of Medicare

So the long and short of it is that the socialized medicine we have foisted on us now doesn't work and people don't like it...

 
At 4/06/2008 9:37 AM, Blogger juandos said...

anon @ 8:53 PM says: "More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea"...

Oh good one!

Reuters used the source written by long time parasite advocates Ronald T. Ackerman and Aaron E. Carroll to push for H.R.676 sponsored by that Detroit loser John Conyers...

Reading the source one can see that the Reuters fairy tale doesn't quite describe adequately just how strong that desire for universal health care is...

What's also notably absent is how these people advocating universal health care haven't volunteered to shoulder the costs of socialized medicine...

 
At 4/06/2008 12:16 PM, Blogger randian said...

Of course they didn't volunteer to shoulder the costs. The great thing about being a liberal is that you can in good conscience steal from others in order to fund your various schemes and plans.

 
At 4/06/2008 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to meet a doctor (work along side them) that wants more government meddling in health-care.

They recognize that the benefits of payment from one source will be shadowed by the beurocracy that will accompany it.

Medicaid and Medicare are messed up enough.

But, like socialism, proponents think trying it one more time will suddenly make it work (despite contrary evidence).


I received excellent and timely care for a shattered arm recently. The insurance put up the typical barriers but covered everything I expected/hoped them to.

Regardless, I'd pay every penny, out of pocket, to have full use of my arm. The surgeon did a fantastic job.

We shudder at the idea of getting injured, in a similar fashion, when we travel abroad.

I'm pleased with the timeliness at which we treat urgent patients (heart attacks, stroke, etc...). When needed, the resonse time of flight for life is impressive.

Getting in to see the primary is another story though. Their daily load is busy. And non-urgent care clinics are gaining popularity here quite a bit, as a result. A large number of those are cough and cold; which could be treated symptomatically at home. Alas, they think we have a magic cure or prevention.

The market will correct itself in time. Non-urgent will shift to the clinics, urgent will remain a domain of the ER, and primaries may get to balance their workload as they desire.

 
At 4/07/2008 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how is the experience of one person in MA an indicator of what all people under universal health care should expect?

 
At 4/07/2008 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health insurers are refusing to pay for hospital errors.

Hospital errors, in the U.S. are one the country's leading causes of preventable death.

 
At 4/07/2008 3:21 PM, Blogger juandos said...

anon @ 10:35 AM says: "So how is the experience of one person in MA an indicator of what all people under universal health care should expect?...

Sounds like a good indicator to me...

It pretty much describes my own experiences...

Got anything credible that says different being experienced by people who have health insurance?

I'm guessing where population densities are higher it might be a problem...

re: Health insurers are refusing to pay for hospital errors, link wasn't working...

A quick perusal of search engine results for that line enquiry shows that this is something that has been happening for just a few years now and that's a good thing...

"Hospital errors, in the U.S. are one the country's leading causes of preventable death"...

Wow! You mean it isn't lifestyle choices that put the person in the hospital in the first place?

Naw, just kidding...

Infections seem to be the real killer in all to many cases of hospital related deaths...

Note the following site courtesy of Consumer Union: Stop Hospital Infections...

Scarey stories here...

 

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