Craig B. Mitchell: Care shortages

November 6, 2012 

Care shortages

In his Oct. 31 Point of View article (“Healthy benefits if Obamacare survives”), Jonathan Oberlander of UNC-Chapel Hill gave us a pie in the sky overview of the top-down, fully bureaucratized system of health care known as "Obamacare." Assuming the Medicare reimbursement cuts to providers take effect under Obamacare, what type of systemic changes should we expect? (Attention Medicare patients!)

Having worked as a physician practice administrator, I can state with confidence that physicians will respond to reimbursement cuts by reducing the number of Medicare patients they see. Good luck to newly enrolled Medicare patients who hope to find a primary care physician much less a specialist.

Oberlander appears to be equating health insurance to health care system access. One must find a physician willing to accept one’s given health insurance in order to access the health care system, Obamacare or otherwise. One unintended consequence – an increased burden borne by hospital emergency rooms – indeed a conundrum that possibly Oberlander’s academic experience has not prepared him for.

The Affordable Care Act is detrimental to health care access for most Americans – insured and uninsured. It will result in extraordinary rationing and will inevitably create a feudal system ripe for replacement by a single payer – the federal government. Furthermore, any intellectually honest economist knows from real-world experience that price controls lead inevitably to real shortages of, in this case, health care services.

Craig B. Mitchell

Raleigh

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