In Kathleen Sebelius’s “state of healthcare” address at a medical conference in D.C. a couple days ago, she stated that health care in the U.S. is “getting stronger.” She thanked doctors for enduring the challenges associated with a “changing U.S. healthcare system.” As if doctors, patients, businesses and the rest of us have any say in these changes whatsoever. Thanks to Obamacare mandates, regulations and taxes, health care costs are going up, businesses are closing down and people are having to go without health insurance, because it’s too expensive. But Sebelius assured her audience that things were actually quite the contrary:
“‘I understand that the change is not easy,’ Sebelius told members of the American Medical Association. ‘As we transition into an era of integrated, patient-centered care, it's inevitable that there will be some growing pains. But I do think that moving forward is the only option.’…’The state of American healthcare is getting stronger,’ she said. ‘These are no longer isolated pilots. They are becoming the face of American medicine.’”
If we trust these people to take care of us long enough, eventually the costs will go down because they’ll be treating fewer and fewer people. They’re going to have to treat fewer people, because they’re going to have fewer doctors. Just look at California’s doctor shortage situation:
“Currently, just 16 of California's 58 counties have the federal government's recommended supply of primary care physicians, with the Inland Empire and the San Joaquin Valley facing the worst shortages. In addition, nearly 30% of the state's doctors are nearing retirement age, the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Assn. of American Medical Colleges.”
And you know what California lawmakers’ solution to this doctor shortage is? Just redefine what “doctor” means. Expand the definition to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners and even pharmacists and optometrists. These people could be used as primary care “physicians” to diagnose and treat patients for their ailments. That’ll take care of the problem.
Maybe they can also redefine what “patient” means. If one is ill and older than, say 75, or if he is really sick at any age, and the doctors have determined that it would not be financially beneficial to treat him, then he is not a patient. He is a drain on the healthcare system. He should be assigned to hospice where they will wait for him to die. But at least he will die in the comfort of morphine.
I guess these are just the “growing pains” Sebelius was referring to that Americans will eventually get over by “moving forward.”