Maybe. The unpleasant truth is that we don't have enough doctors to offer quality care to a growing number of Americans, never mind the nearly 30 million uninsured who'll begin to gain coverage under ObamaCare starting in 2014.
Changing demographics and perverse reimbursements are the main culprits. But ObamaCare didn't do much to address the underlying problems. Estimates vary, but the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the U.S. will be short 130,000 doctors across all specialties by 2025. In fact, about one-third of all doctors plan to retire in the next decade.
Today, nearly 20 percent of Americans lack adequate access to primary care because there aren't enough physicians. About 30 percent of doctors won't accept new Medicaid patients. About one-third of ObamaCare's insurance expansion will come through expanding Medicaid.
ObamaCare relies on primary care providers to coordinate care in the hopes of lowering costs and improving outcomes. After adjusting for population growth, aging and demand for care created by the newly insured, we estimate that by 2025, the U.S. will face a shortage of 30,000 primary care physicians, nearly 5,000 of which are attributable to the expansion of insurance under ObamaCare.
Medicare grossly underpays primary care doctors compared with specialists and pays nurse practitioners 85 percent of what it pays doctors for the same services. And medical students are leaving school with crushing debt.
ObamaCare's focus on expanding health insurance left many of our biggest access-to-care challenges untouched. Get ready for Health Care Reform 2.0, starting next year, when many of America's newly insured realize that they have to get in line to see a doctor when they need one.
CMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics):"Why go to school for seven or eight years to become a primary physician when you can make 85 percent of a physicians salary as a nurse practitioner by adding just a couple more years of schooling to your undergraduate degree? You also will come out with a lot less debt. The median debt for a public medical school in 2012 was $160,000 and for a private $190,000.1 It is no surprise that only 25 percent of allopathic school graduates are going into primary care, but even that statistic may be misleading since 75 percent of students matching to internal medicine programs go into specialties.2 That is one of the reasons that osteopathic schools are prospering. Their number has grown from 19 campuses in 2000 to 37 in 2013.3 More than half their graduates go into primary care.4 Unfortunately, their debt load average on graduation is higher than allopathic schools by almost 25 percent.
"Economic disincentives have seriously damaged primary care and, if surveys are right, it will be worsened by the large number of physicians planning to retire early due to their concerns about Obamacare.5 Ultimately, patients will pay the price with decreased accessibility and poorer health.
"The ranks of mid-level professionals are increasing dramatically to fill in the gaps, but we should be concerned that a significant drop in primary care physicians will leave a dangerous knowledge and experience void between what mid-levels can provide and what specialists should handle.
"This cloud does have a silver lining! With the need for more physicians, it has opened the door for two Christian osteopathic schools to be up and running by this fall and two more are in the planning stages. I’ve also noted that there seems to be a higher percentage of Christian students on secular osteopathic campuses than allopathic ones and they seem to maintain a more balanced life."
5.NewsMax “Sixty percent of the doctors responding to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey are likely to will retire sooner than planned in the next one to three years, irrespective of age, gender or medical specialty.”