Former Senior Editor at Medical Economics Magazine
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Good for America?"
"The fact is that primary-care doctors are in short supply in many areas, and urgent care centers may not be available, either. Even if you have a physician, he or she may not share her calls with other doctors, which means your only recourse outside of normal business hours or when the physician is on vacation, is to go to the ER.
The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage won’t solve any of these problems, and may even make them worse. The uninsured will be somewhat less likely to end up in the ER when they have insurance, because they’ll be more likely to receive preventive and chronic care that will forestall emergencies. But there won’t be enough primary-care providers to handle this influx of the newly insured. In addition, while the ACA raises Medicaid reimbursement of primary care doctors to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014, there’s no money to continue those extra payments afterwards. So Medicaid patients will continue to have a hard time finding physicians.
All of this argues for a reexamination of Medicaid and physician workforce policies to guarantee that everyone has access to care. Otherwise, reform will fall far short of its goals."
"Health Care Reform: Overcrowded ERs Are Bad and Getting Worse," www.bnet.com, Aug. 23, 2010