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New York Times Looks At Low Primary Doctor Numbers

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Interesting article in this week’s New York Times. The issue was the reduced number of primary care providers. Basically, the issue is that the heath care insurance companies aren’t paying enough. The focus of the article was on the Obama Administration’s need to look at increasing the amounts of Medicare payments.

Basically, while specialists receive more, the payment for simple visits isn’t enough for the doctors to find it worth owing the work. The response has been retirements, transfers to specialties and simply not taking the patients.

The article solutions included upping the payments (with a discussion of cutting the pay to specialists), increasing the incentives to go to medical school, encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods.

What’s interesting is that there was no talk at all about medical malpractice rates. Maybe the articles of my fellow Injuryboard members:

Wayne Parsons- Tort Reform Myth: AMA Statistics Refute ‘Doctors Flee’ Myth

Steve Lombardi- Tort Reform Protocol: Oops! Sorry! The Apology, a new Gold Standard of Practice

are really sinking in. The knee jerk reaction of "blame the lawyers", is not only inaccurate, but is also a great example of what a frivolous claim looks like. It’s important, as with any profession, that consumers have the medical care they need. It’s through truthful and realistic looks at the issue that we will find solutions.