No doctors for you!

One of the great fears of passing health care reform was that increasing the number of patients in the system would tax already strained resources, resulting in increasing wait times. There’s something to this. After all, wait times already exist in the US, and increasing access for more than 30 million people while keeping the number of physicians static would have to result in some changes.

This isn’t rocket science, and those passing the PPACA recognized the problem. Therefore, they placed within the legislation a solution:

So Page 519 of the sprawling 2010 law to overhaul the health-care system creates an influential commission to guide the country in matching the supply of health-care workers with the need. But in the eight months since its members were named, the commission has been unable to start any work

The group cannot convene, converse or hire staff because $3 million that it needs for its initial year has been blocked by two partisan wars on Capitol Hill — strife over the federal budget and Republicans’ disdain for the health-care changes that Democrats muscled into law 14 months ago…

The panel’s only activity so far, Mullan said, was a single conference call during which members were told they could not lobby members of Congress for funds or accept money to operate from foundations or anywhere else.

The National Health Care Workforce Commission is intended as an ongoing brain trust to focus new energy on solving an old problem that will become increasingly severe. The law says the new commission will analyze primary-care shortages and propose innovations for the government — and medical schools — to help produce the doctors and other health workers the nation needs. The idea is to furnish expertise to counterbalance the intense lobbying of medical groups.

Look, I get that many people oppose the PPACA. But this type of work is necessary even if you absolutely, positively hate the law. We have doctor shortages, especially in primary care, and we have wait times. Refusing to work on this issue does no one any good.

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