The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has just hit another speed bump on its fast track to nowhere.
Healthcare professionals are warning that there could be a wide gap between the number of people seeking medical treatment under Obamacare and the number of doctors available to provide it.
A triple threat — more people needing care, tens of thousands of doctors reaching retirement age and a growing number of physicians getting so frustrated with bureaucracy that they want out — could undermine any improvements the law envisages.
The large number of retiring doctors emphasizes the gap that is likely to widen between the number of people needing medical care and the pool of medical professionals.
Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research told Fox News some doctors are even leaving their profession prematurely to avoid the headache of Obamacare.
"There are a lot of doctors who are just so frustrated; today with all the bureaucracy involved in taking care of patients that they're retiring early."
For many across the country, doctor shortages are already a reality:
Nearly one in five Americans already lives in a region designated as having a shortage of primary care physicians, and the number of doctors entering the field isn't expected keep pace with demand. About a quarter million primary care doctors work in America now, and the Association of American Medical Colleges projects the shortage will reach almost 30,000 in two years and will grow to about 66,000 in little more than a decade. In some cases, nurses and physician assistants help fill in the gap.
Dr. David Goodman of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice expects the problem to become worse nationally when about 30 million uninsured people gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The lack of doctors and therefore lack of quality care may be another reason why this law is now "more unpopular than ever." As Obamacare begins to take full effect, it seems we can look forward to more quality time spent in waiting rooms.
"There's going to be lines for the newly insured, because many physicians and nurses who trained in primary care would rather practice in specialty roles."
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