ObamaCare and Tennessee

ObamaCare and Tennessee

October 9th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

When you are not feeling well, even the normal wait time in your doctor's office can be unpleasant.

But get ready to wait longer to see your doctor as the provisions of ObamaCare kick in between now and 2014.

A study by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee found that wait times to see a physician will rise under ObamaCare as the law pulls almost 700,000 Tennesseans into federally approved health insurance programs.

The trouble is, in the quest to cover more people, supporters of ObamaCare did not think about the fact that there are not nearly enough health care workers to provide all that new care efficiently.

Our nation is already facing a doctor shortage, which is going to worsen as millions of people across the country enter government care through ObamaCare. In Tennessee and elsewhere in the United States, there is no real plan in place to add enough health care providers to meet the need. So how are 700,000 more Tennesseans -- and 30 million people nationwide -- supposed to get treatment in doctor's offices under ObamaCare when the system is already under great stress as it is?

"Since the number of providers will not increase in the short run, there will be a strain on the system's ability to supply services," Dr. Steve Coulter, author of the study by BlueCross, told the Times Free Press. "That may mean, generally speaking, worse access to services for those who are currently insured."

The BlueCross study did not quantify just how much longer patients may have to wait when they go to a doctor's office. But take a look at Massachusetts, a state that enacted health care reforms in 2006 on which ObamaCare was later modeled.

A research firm looked at wait times in 15 cities around the country for new patients to see a family practitioner. The longest average wait was 63 days -- in Boston. That was nine times as long as it took a new patient to see a physician in Florida, which did not have an ObamaCare-style law like the one in Massachusetts. The study said long wait times in Boston were "driven in part" by Massachusetts' health care "reforms."

Worse still, Bloomberg News reported that "as many as half of doctors in [Massachusetts] have closed their practices to new patients, forcing many of the newly insured to turn to emergency rooms for care."

Is it helping the uninsured to give them costly "coverage" that may not really provide them access to primary-care doctors and may send them to the emergency room anyway?

Backers of ObamaCare made lots of promises before Democrats in Congress passed the law in 2010. They said it would be a boon to the country, and they vigorously downplayed any negative side effects.

But those side effects are looming large even before all of ObamaCare's provisions have kicked in. We are afraid our nation is going to have a bad case of buyer's remorse once the full harm of ObamaCare becomes obvious.