Florida Medical Association reports worsening doctor shortage

Florida Medical Association reports worsening doctor shortage

Male Doctor Hand Abstract with Lab Coat and Stethoscope.And so it begins. An article in the Sun-Sentinel grimly advises Sunshine State residents:

Brace yourself for longer lines at the doctor’s office.

Whether you’re employed and insured, elderly and on Medicare, or poor and covered by Medicaid, the Florida Medical Association says there’s a growing shortage of doctors — especially specialists — available to provide you with medical care.

And if the Florida Legislature goes along with Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation to offer Medicaid coverage to an additional 1 million Floridians — part of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect next January — the FMA says that shortage will only get worse.

Currently, the article notes, some 15 million Floridians have health insurance, a number that will rise by 17 percent in January 2014 when Obamacare becomes fully implemented. At the same time, the number of doctors in the state is expected to shrink by 12.5 percent as 5,600 of them retire over the next five years. And despite efforts to fill the void their exodus will create, the state isn’t turning out as many new doctors as it needs.

Part of this reason for this catch-22 is poor planning on the part of Obamacare’s authors. As written, the law’s key mandate — that all adults have coverage or pay a “tax” — kicks in just as the nation’s massive baby boomer population retires. That means an increased strain on the health care industry at the same time that the work force decreases, and with it tax revenues to help offset the staggering costs.

But the problem is larger than just that. It harks back to the president’s protestations as early as 2009 that, despite adding 40 million uninsured Americans to the health care roles, he would lower the costs of premiums for everyone. The answer to the question of how he was going to perform that feat of alchemy is that he wasn’t. The program’s architect has observed that the cost of health care will increase, and dramatically, once the law is fully implemented.

As for doctor shortages, the handwriting has long been on the wall. A survey conducted in July of 2012 found 83 percent of MDs saying they’d rather leave medicine than work under the terms of Obamacare. The president hasn’t exactly sweet-talked any of them into sticking it out for the good of the nation, instead attacking medical professionals as rich vultures who perform unnecessary procedures to make a fast buck.

Now his chickens are coming home to roost in Florida and, soon, elsewhere.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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