Reflex: October 14, 2011

Physician shortage in Massachusetts continues to squeeze primary care, reports Tanya Albert Henry. “Massachusetts is facing severe or critical shortages of doctors in eight specialties, including a deficiency of primary care physicians for the sixth year, a survey shows.” Shortages were seen in almost half of specialties. Aaron’s comment: Massachusetts likely offers us the best picture of what life will look like after the ACA is fully implemented, and anyone who doesn’t see the doctor shortage problem coming has their head in the sand.

The Kaiser Family Foundation finds high insurer market concentration in many individual- and small-group markets. “[A] single insurer dominated at least half of the individual market in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In the small group market, a single insurer accounted for at least half of the market share in 26 states and D.C.” Austin’s comment: As with many things in health economics, this is far more complex than is likely to be reported. I’ll explain next week. In the meantime, remember that insurer market concentration is not always bad for consumers.

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