The goal of our new health care bill is to expand coverage to more people, reduce costs and improve quality of care.
Those are goals that most everyone agrees upon. Of course how we go about achieving those goals has created some rather heated arguments.
Even if we can find a way to cover most Americans for less cost and with higher quality, I have to ask: Who is going to provide our healthcare under the new reform bill?
It is well known that Baby Boomers are now retiring by the millions. Nearly 40% of doctors are 55 or older and they are potentially part of that retirement boom.
About one third of the nursing workforce is 50 years or older, and 55% of those nurses expressed an interest in retiring in the next 10 years.
The number of medical doctors and nurses coming out of school are not enough to replace the number leaving the profession.
There are incentives in the healthcare reform for newly graduated doctors, however there aren’t enough residency positions to train and replace the doctors leaving the workforce.
Couple the medical professional shortage with lower reimbursement rates for care, and you have even more doctors walking away from their practices because they can no longer afford to run their businesses. Sometimes we forget that doctors are also business men and women.
Docs4PatientCare, an organization of concerned physicians, claim that what they charge and what they actually get paid are two very different amounts. Reimbursements are based on Medicare, and providers lose money on Medicaid and Medicare in many cases. Basically, reimbursements have been decreasing and patient volumes are increasing, which means more work for less money each year.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 75% of nurses said they think the shortage “presents a major problem for the quality of their work life, the quality of patient care, and the amount of time that nurses can spend with patients.”
Would you work harder in a less desirable environment for less money? Again, I ask: Who is going to provide our healthcare?