This week the Republican members of the House of Representatives plan to vote to repeal the new health care law known as “ObamaCare.” Democrats are quickly dismissing the effort. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged to block the bill and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) tarred it as nothing more than “an obvious attempt to throw red meat to extreme Tea Partiers in the Republican base."
Democrats may wish that only a fringe of hard line, anti-government types supported repealing ObamaCare, but the truth is very different. Support for ObamaCare's repeal is broad, and includes one group too often overlooked during the health care debate: America's doctors.
According to a Physicians Foundation survey from November, 56 percent of doctors said the new law will diminish the quality of care they can provide to patients. One under-discussed outcome of Obamacare may be a growing shortage of accessible doctors. Many doctors expressed their intention to retire early, close their practices, or exit the profession entirely after the law passed. While more current doctors turn in their stethoscopes, fewer smart kids will enter medicine, which will compound America’s already predicted doctor shortage, even as Medicaid rolls grow longer. The Association of American Medical Collegesprojects that nationwide physician shortages will balloon to 62,900 doctors in five years and 91,500 by 2020.
Common sense tells us that we can’t treat more patients in the U.S. health care system with fewer doctors per patient. That’s a basic problem of supply and demand, a concept often ignored by those crafting the legislation. That wasn't the only information disregarded during the health care debate. Legislators also snubbed the policy recommendations of practicing physicians: Fully eighty-six percent of doctors surveyed said the viewpoint of physicians was not adequately represented in the passage of the reform.
Maybe our policymakers thought it was alright to ignore doctors. After all, ObamaCare is supposed to be all about the patient, giving them more access to treatment (even if it does so by forcing them to buy insurance).