As the United States government shutdown has taken front stage on the media landscape, the glitches over the Obamacare website and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act haven’t garnered as much attention as they should.
It has been widely reported of the negative economic effects of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, predominantly highlighting the growing number of part-time jobs in the workforce. What hasn’t been talked about is the damaging effect on the delivery of healthcare. With Obamacare officially the law of the land, the influx of new patients could hinder medical care.
At the present time, the U.S. is facing a doctor shortage of about 20,000. That figure is projected to reach 100,000 within the next decade. This means hospitals and clinics could be hurt and there will be a paucity of staff members to meet the needs of the enormous influx of new patients.
Last week, CBS News touched upon the subject and profiled some families in Dallas, Texas. It found that families that already have a family doctor are either experiencing longer waiting times or not receiving an appointment at all.
With fewer students entering the field of medicine – many prefer to gain employment in fields that offer higher salaries – this is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Indeed, it isn’t just the anecdotal evidence to support the growing concerns, but industry professionals are also worried.
“The healthcare delivery system is changing,” said John McCracken, UT Dallas Healthcare Management professor, in an interview with the news organization. “If, in fact, there is a surge in the number of insureds in this country, there is going to be a surge in the demand for primary care and the primary care physicians to meet that demand are simply not there.”
Whether or not households have private insurance, the way Americans access the healthcare system could dramatically change over time. So the unintended consequences of the president’s healthcare reform initiative aren’t just economical but also social.