It takes many years of education and training to become a physician: 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty selected. A few medical schools offer a combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 rather than the customary 8 years. That’s 11 to 19 years of very expensive post-secondary education just to hang a shingle that has “MD” after your name.
It’s fairly easy to see why we’ve never had enough doctors – especially general practitioners and most especially in rural areas. Considering the initial investment, it would take a “country doctor” many years just to pay off the student loans, say nothing of joining their brethren on the golf course twice a week, the way urban specialists enjoy life.
So why in the world would a people who don’t have enough doctors decide to force/legislate/regulate doctor’s compensation, thereby driving more of them out of state or out of the profession altogether?
I asked this very same question several years ago when the first utterances of Obamacare hit the headlines. Healthcare reform – as the important folks call it – is absolutely nothing more than a highly complex system of totally socialist government control of 1/6 of the nation’s economy – not to mention its very high rating for immediate care, specialized medicine and research and development.
Vermont is Hell-bent on becoming the model for Obamacare, and to that end Governor Peter Shumlin – along with his party’s total control of the legislature – has shifted into high gear to implement its socialized health care program in record breaking time. And as is the case with the federal Obamacare (the Affordable Health Care Act) legislation, it’s just now being discovered “what’s in it”.
According to a report by WCAX TV, “A Bennington (Vt.) lawmaker, backed by a coalition of doctors, is raising red flags about a provision in Vermont’s new health care rules that regulates payment rates for private practices.
The state’s groundbreaking health care reform was approved two years ago. But the group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom says it is only in the last month that it came to the attention of some lawmakers that the rules would prevent private doctors from entering into a private contract with a patient, even if the state is not involved in the payment.”
An amendment to the new Vermont law, offered by Rep. Cynthia Browning, designed to address this critical issue, was defeated in the House of Representatives – which is incredibly top-heavy with Shumlin Democrats.
Shumlin’s health care reform director, Robin Lunge, conjured up this weak response to the doctor’s concern; “Let’s be clear; we’re not establishing their pay. What we would be doing is ensuring that the reimbursement rates that are between the private insurers and the providers are fair. We’re not hiring doctors. Doctors still work either for themselves or for hospitals and that’s not changing”.
The only part of that statement that’s even remotely true is the last two sentences.
The law, as written allows the government to determine “fair” as it relates to payment for services. If that isn’t establishing pay, what is? The state is saying it intends to set the high and low benchmarks for medical rates charged by doctors and all such rates will have to fall within those limits.
Bear in mind that the total package of Obamacare is supposed to kick in next year. At the rate it’s going it may be another year or two before it’s implemented, and even then there will be serious questions about how the taxpayers will fund it (Shumlin is in serious trouble over how he intends to dun the taxpayers and still hasn’t said how he plans to do so despite a law requiring him to do so) and how many current MDs will just throw up their hands in disgust and move out or retire. Obviously, some intend to do one or the other at a time when neither would be in the best interests of the people.