14:45The Supply of Doctors Just Won't be There
Stubbs, president of the American College of Physicians -- the
second-largest doctors' group in the country -- confirms that "the
supply of doctors just won't be there" for the 30 million new patients
President Barack Obama wants to cover. Noting that the doctor shortage
is "already a catastrophic crisis," Stubbs noted that underserved areas
in the U.S. currently need almost 17,000 new primary care physicians
even before Obama's proposals are enacted.|
Alan Goroll, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said that "the
primary lesson of healthcare reform in Massachusetts is that you can't
increase the number of insured unless you have a strong primary-care
base in place to receive them. Without that foundation...Massachusetts
has ended up with higher costs and people going to emergency rooms when
they can't find a doctor."
The dynamic of the healthcare debate is decidedly turning against the administration. As details of the doctor shortage, Medicare cuts, tax increases, penalties for no insurance, shallow subsidies and high costs for the uninsured all leak out, more and more Americans are developing qualms about the bill.
But within Congress, the momentum is the other way as the bill hurtles toward December passage in the Senate.
But then it will hit a wall as the chambers try to reconcile their different versions so as to satisfy the liberal House and Obama's base on the one hand and the most conservative among the 60 Democratic senators on the other. This debate will focus on such a broad range of issues and will be so contentious that it is going to take a long time to resolve.
Meanwhile, popular angst with the bill will continue to build and Election Day will approach. More and more members will be anxious about supporting the bill and both left and right will dig in their heels and resist compromise.
The healthcare bill may pass both houses, but may not be able to be enacted into law.
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