|Tip: These doctors are the productive and capable ones, the best in a free market of competitive care. They do not lobby or rely on government as their agent to send them customers.|
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Only - that's wrong. On both counts.
First, there is no inherent "right to health care," either in the Constitution or state laws, just as there is no inherent "right" to any other privately delivered product or service in the private sector.
Secondly, as this website and others have argued for more than a couple of years, getting "access" to health insurance won't guarantee access to medical care. For that, you'd need access to medical professionals - doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants.
But what if these professionals could not be had? As reported by the Washington Examiner:
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said.
"It doesn't surprise me that there's a high rate of nonparticipation," said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
'No other business would' lose money
Thorp has been practicing primary care medicine for nearly four decades in a small town 90 minutes north of Sacramento. The group he heads up represents about one-third - 38,000 - of the roughly 104,000 doctors in the state.
"We need some recognition that we're doing a service to the community. But we can't do it for free. And we can't do it at a loss. No other business would do that," he said.
And yet, that is the expectation of the big government masterminds who brought us Obamacare.
As the Examiner continues:
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country -- 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
In other states, Medicare pays doctors $76 for return-office visits. But in California, Medi-Cal's reimbursement is $24, according to Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, a San Diego ear, nose and throat doctor.
And when your service costs more to deliver than you are being paid, guess what? Two things happen: you opt out of that lousy reimbursement system, or you retire. In California and elsewhere, Obamacare is forcing physicians to make precisely those choices, which will mean less access for a much higher patient load.
"Some physicians have been put in [California's] network and they were included basically without their permission," Lisa Folberg, CMA's vice president of medical and regulatory policy, told the Examiner.
"They may be listed as actually participating, but not of their own volition," added Donald Waters, executive director of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association.
"This is a dirty little secret that is not really talked about as they promote Covered California," Waters continued, calling the state exchange's physician members list a "shell game," because "the vast majority" of them are not participating.
Covered California officials discount any reports that most of the state's doctors will likely stay away. In fact, the Washington Examiner reported, the exchange believes that 85 percent of the state's doctors will participate.
That may not coincide with reality, however. And besides, again - merely signing up for health insurance through an Obamacare exchange could be meaningless.
Some docs moving to 'cash only'
"Enrollment doesn't mean access, because there aren't enough doctors to take the low rates of Medicaid," said Alex Briscoe, health director for Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. "There aren't enough primary care physicians, period."
Of those doctors not participating in the exchanges, the law could also force others to merely decide to opt-out of medicine altogether, as reported by Human Events:
ObamaCare's defenders promised the law would increase patient access to care, but a closer look shows that increased regulations combined with higher demand for health services could cause many physicians to give up practicing medicine.
Still, other physicians are moving to cash only - taking no insurance at all.
"Patients should welcome this development. Not only does the move toward direct payment have the potential to reduce health costs - it could also yield higher-quality care," writes Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, for Forbes in April.