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The Affordable Care Act: Retiring a Doctor Near You

Doctor ShortageAre you having difficulties looking for a doctor to provide you medical treatment? While you might not have that problem now, you may soon face that predicament in a couple of years. It seems that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of President Barack Obama will be the catalyst for anticipated doctor shortage problems.

It is expected that when the health care reform law starts on January 1, 2014, about 30 million people without health insurance plans will seek health care coverage either through Medicaid or the state-based health insurance exchanges. So how will the Affordable Care Act lead to a doctor shortage problem?

With our current health care system, it is quite impossible to meet that huge influx of patients seeking free preventive care services,  we don’t have enough health care providers to meet that demand. Even if you get a Tennessee health insurance plan in 2014, it is not an assurance that you would get health care services.

Plus, there is the problem of Obama’s plan for Medicare. To lessen budget deficits, Obama will decrease the Medicare fees received by hospitals and doctors. About 40 percent of doctors interviewed said that the health care reform law will force them to quit medicine or retire a few years from now. Poor compensation will make physicians stop seeing new Medicare patients.

Also, with fewer doctors and hospitals accepting Medicare patients, how long will consumers have to wait before they can get the health care they badly need? There will be longer waiting times and for those who need immediate care, such a long wait could be the difference between life and death.

When the demand exceeds the supply, doctors can choose the patients that they see. And since they are doing this job for a living, they will surely see the patients that will pay them the highest fees. This will make it even harder for low-income individuals to get physicians to see them. If President Obama doesn’t want to have problems with his health care reform law, he should start adjusting the compensation received by health care providers and look at other ways to reduce the budget deficits.

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