ObamaCare Intensifying Doctor Shortage Crisis as Medicaid Balloons

By:  Alex Newman
12/02/2013
       
ObamaCare Intensifying Doctor Shortage Crisis as Medicaid Balloons

With the ObamaCare-instigated expansion of Medicaid expected to add almost 10 million more Americans to the government entitlement scheme, the shortage of doctors across the United States is set to get much worse, according to experts and estimates cited in news reports.

While analysts have been predicting the looming crisis for years, as the extent of the damage becomes clearer and the escalating shortages accelerate, even reliably pro-ObamaCare media outlets such as the New York Times are now highlighting the disaster. Talk of radical so-called “solutions” has already started, too.

Under ObamaCare, passed by congressional Democrats under pressure from Obama despite overwhelming public opposition, state governments were prodded into expanding the Medicaid system using mostly taxpayer-funded handouts from the federal government. The controversial federal-state healthcare program aimed at low-income Americans, however, was already in shambles — exploding costs, rampant fraud, and growing numbers of doctors refusing to participate owing to low reimbursement rates and jungles of red tape to navigate.

Official estimates suggest almost 10 million new Medicaid patients will be signing up in just the next year — and so far, government estimates have largely been on the low side. The explosive growth, according to analysts, will come in part because of the program’s expansion under ObamaCare, which, in participating states, has reduced eligibility requirements. Another reason for the surge in Medicaid rolls is all of the publicity surrounding the federal “Affordable Care Act,” which prompted more people to sign up. As the demand for healthcare is set to explode with government paying the bills, however, the supply of providers is already shrinking — a toxic combination for Americans who need healthcare.

Despite the “incentives” to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare, only about half of state governments took the bait and agreed to grow the program. Even in states that refused, Medicaid is already in trouble, with patients often facing long wait times for specialists, and sometimes even primary-care doctors. According to multiple news reports, meanwhile, the number of people enrolling in Medicaid even in those states is surging. In South Carolina, for example, which opted out of ObamaCare’s expansion of the scheme, officials are projecting a 16 percent increase in Medicaid enrollees over the next year and a half.

As The New American reported last month, ObamaCare has enrolled vastly more people in Medicaid than in private insurance. In states that went along with the ObamaCare expansion of the government healthcare program, however, the problems are growing even more quickly — and are set to accelerate. In an article headlined “Medicaid Growth Could Aggravate Doctor Shortage,” the New York Times quoted a number of doctors and experts who described the looming crisis and how it will affect Americans.

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