Health Care Solutions: Market (Same-day House Calls) vs. Government (36 Days to See Family Doc)
1. Here's a market-based approach to health care (watch video above), where nurse practitioners make house calls and come to your home or office, so you can avoid all of the costs typically associated with an appointment at a doctor's office: gas, travel time, waiting time, parking, child care, time off work, etc.
HT: John Goodman, who refers to this "mobile medical care" approach as "Minute Clinic on Wheels."
2. In contrast, consider the situation in Massachusetts, after five years of government-managed "Romneycare," which is frequently mentioned as a model for how "Obamacare" will operate nationally. According to the recently released study "2011 Study of Patient Access to Health Care" from the Massachusetts Medical Society (press release here, full report here):
a. "Access to primary care physicians is becoming more restricted, as more than half of primary care practices – 51% of internists and 53% of family physicians – are not accepting new patients. These figures remain close to those of last year’s survey which showed 49% of internists and 54% of family physicians not accepting new patients.
Medical Society officials say the percentage of practices closed to new patients reflects the persistent shortages of primary care physicians in the Commonwealth. For five consecutive years, the Medical Society has recorded critical and severe shortages of both internists and family physicians.
b. Long wait times continue for the primary care physicians of internal medicine and family medicine who are accepting new patients. The average wait time for an appointment for internal medicine is 48 days, five days shorter than last year, and the average wait time for family medicine is 36 days, up 7 days. Internal medicine was the only specialty reporting a shorter wait time, yet at 48 days it has the longest wait time of any of the seven specialties surveyed.
All four specialty care categories reported longer wait times: gastroenterologists, 43 days, up from 36 days; obstetricians and gynecologists, 41 days, up from 34 days; orthopedic surgeons, 26 days, up from 17 days; and cardiology, 28 days, up from 26 days."