President Obama and the Democrats spent a year getting their healthcare reform bill through Congress. Since its passage the Progressives are on to other ways to fundamentally change America. However, the healthcare challenges that this country faced before the bill past, i.e. the high cost of healthcare, have not been addressed. In fact it is likely that the healthcare reform bill will increase the total cost of healthcare in the Unites States.
One obvious reason for the coming increased healthcare cost is human nature. Give people low cost access to healthcare, subsidized by the government, and they will use more of it. No rocket science here. In addition government programs always grow over time, adding additional benefits to buy votes.
There is another more insidious reason that the cost of healthcare will increase as a result of the reform bill: doctor shortages. With the signing of a bill, President Obama promised to give millions of additional Americans access to low-cost or free medical services. This market manipulation creates unintended consequences. For example, the Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday titled: “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up”. A link to the article is included below. It concludes:
- Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
- A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.
- There are about 110,000 resident positions in the U.S., according to the AAMC. Teaching hospitals rely heavily on Medicare funding to pay for these slots. In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on funding for medical residencies, which hospitals say has increasingly hurt their ability to expand the number of positions.
Progressives from both political parties continually ignore the laws of supply and demand at the peril of the overall goods of the country. This convenient omission enables politicians to come up with seemingly noble ideas without having to take responsibilities for their failures.
As the WSJ concluded: A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients. This will fit in quite well with the Progressives desire to redistribute wealth and services.