Obamacare | The Government's Takeover of Health Care
Obamacare Doctor Shortage to Hit California
Friday, 15 February 2013 08:09
Written by Cliff Levine
Obamacare adds millions of uninsured and illegal Americans to the health care system, putting a massive burden on the already slim number of doctors in the country. Despite being broke, California has doubled down on liberalism and is creating a state Obamacare exchange in order to mandate that all residents have health insurance. Since there aren't enough doctors to meet the demands of Obamacare, which will have devastating effects on the system, California lawmakers are trying to bend the rules by redefining who can provide care.
California liberal lawmakers are working on proposals that would allow pharmacists and optometrists to act as primary care providers. They might as well turn town dog catchers into veterinarians! The issue of patient safety clearly isn't much of a concern, so long as the liberal agenda is followed to the T. This begs the question, what's more important?: patient access or safety? To control the individual, access is paramount to liberalism.
The L.A. Slimes reported on the story:
As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama's healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren't enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients.
Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare.
They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.
"We're going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance," said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. "What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?"
Hernandez's proposed changes, which would dramatically shake up the medical establishment in California, have set off a turf war with physicians that could contribute to the success or failure of the federal Affordable Care Act in California.
Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, they said.
"Patient safety should always trump access concerns," said Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Assn.
Such "scope-of-practice" fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems. About 350 laws altering what health professionals may do have been enacted nationwide in the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since Jan. 1, more than 50 additional proposals have been launched in 24 states.
As the nation's earliest and most aggressive adopter of the healthcare overhaul, California faces more pressure than many states. Diana Dooley, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency, said in an interview that expanding some professionals' roles was among the options policymakers should explore to help meet the expected demand.
At a meeting of healthcare advocates in December, she had offered a more blunt assessment.
"We're going to have to provide care at lower levels," she told the group. "I think a lot of people are trained to do work that our licenses don't allow them to."
When Obamacare hits nationwide, doctor shortages are going to be a reality that will impact every American. In the face of the liberal agenda, reality is what's flawed. By bending the rules, California is again hurting residents of their state in order to enforce the most radical law in recent history.
Cliff Levine is a contributing editor for Habledash.