Obamacare is set to provide some 16 million people with health insurance through Medicaid or the new exchanges next year. Unfortunately, their policies may not be worth much — as they may not be able to actually get care.
America is suffering from a doctor shortage. An influx of millions of new patients into the healthcare system will only exacerbate that shortage — driving up the demand for care without doing anything about its supply. Those who get their coverage through Medicaid or the exchanges may feel the effects of the shortage even more acutely, as many providers are opting not to accept their insurance.
Right now, the United States is short some 20,000 doctors, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The shortage could quintuple over the next decade, thanks to the aging of the American population — and the aging and consequent retirement of many physicians. Nearly half of the 800,000-plus doctors in the United States are over the age of 50.