California facing doctor shortage amid Obamacare implementation

California, the state that first attempted to implement President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, has realized there aren’t enough doctors to care for the large influx of newly insured patients.

The Los Angeles Times reports that only 16 of the state’s 58 counties meet the federal government’s recommended standard of primary care physicians, and almost 30 percent of California’s doctors are close to the retirement age — the highest percentage nationwide.

“We’re going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance,” Democratic state Sen. Ed Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times. “What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card, but no access to doctors?”

Hernandez has led an effort in the state legislature to expand the definition of who can provide health care services to patients. Lawmakers have proposed allowing physician assistants to treat more patients and permitting nurse practitioners to have independent practices.

Also, pharmacists and optometrists could become primary care providers and be allowed to treat some chronic illnesses.

“We don’t have enough providers,” said Beth Haney, president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, “… so we should increase access to the ones that we have.”

However, proposals to expand patient treatment options have been met with resistance from doctors, who say that such reforms could jeopardize patient safety and increase costs to patients.

“Patient safety should always trump access concerns,” Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Association, told the Times.

This fight over who can treat patients to meet the growing demand for medical services is ongoing in other states, as well. The Times reports that in the past two years, approximately 350 laws redefining what health professionals may treat have been enacted across the country, and more than 50 proposals have been put forward in 24 states since the beginning of this year.

To alleviate the problem, the  Medical Association has suggested expanding participation in a loan repayment program for medical school graduates, which now gives doctors as much as $105,000 for working for three years in under-served communities.

“We’re not going to produce thousands of additional doctors in any kind of short-term time frame,” said Democratic state Assemblyman Roger Dickinson. “It makes sense to look at changes that could relieve the pressure that we’re going to undoubtedly encounter for access to care.”

Read more at Daily Caller News Foundation.

Comments

Comments

  1. Roger Mitchell says:

    LOL I guess some like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and all of the modern day liberal hippies thought it was a great idea something for free,(But the lack of practicing Dr’s will soon be the least of the USA medical worries) we will become just like in Canada and Europe , Low cost socialized medicine. Or at least free birth control I’d myself suggest keeping your pants on . Thats better for all who work and pay taxes.. But they have not figured on how this socialized model will work .. 1st hand knowledge from a close and good friend who is a long haul trucker he was doing some hauling up in Canada a few yrs back , there was a huge road traffic accident somewhere up in N.W Canada he had some type of medical device on his load that had to be at some hospital for a emergency heart operation with in 12 hrs or so .
    They set in the 30 mile traffic back up for many many Hrs 4 huge wreckers on the scene he told me the Canada Medical authorities found out he was in the back up they contacted the Canada troopers what ever they are called ? They located his truck and tried to move heaven and earth to try and get him rolling to get that device to the needed patient for his by pass or what ever ? Seems the Hospitals up there have like one of anything and they just shuffle it around to other areas as needed .. Now who is going to pay for the law suits when people in this country start dieing for want of a heart machine ?
    Now remember the liberals wanted this share the wealth and socialized medicine (: as Nancy said you have to pass the bill to see what is in the bill ..My Buddy said he would as soon die then to go to a Canadian hospital he had to once for an injury emergency and they busted his American insurance Co big time .. .
    And another person I know his entire family moved here in the 70’s But his Parents stayed and they had to take his father across the border to Buffalo to get the needed cancer treatments even a MRI was a 6 week wait his mentally off sister could get little help there .. She now is a state care hospital , Seems they are given treatment for what they may be worth to society and paying super high taxes they said the younger working citizens get the better care sooner then old or people that can not be improved with treatments we’ll see ,

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