Those Nasty Unintended Consequences

On Monday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial detailing the impact of ObamaCare on doctors.

The editorial reports:

A year before ObamaCare became law, an IBD/TIPP Poll warned that it would lead to doctor shortages because many would quit or retire early. New evidence shows that our warnings were dead on.

A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges projects doctor shortages of up to 121,300 within the next 12 years. That’s a 16% increase from their forecast just last year.

Not only are medical schools having trouble attracting doctors (New York University plans to offer free tuition to its med students), but current physicians are cutting back on patient visits, retiring early or switching careers.

An article in a recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings says that nearly one in five doctors plan to switch to part-time clinical hours, 27% plan to leave their current practice, and 9% plan to get an administrative job or switch careers entirely.

The editorial cites one possible reason for the declining number of doctors:

One of the big drivers of doctor exits, by the way, is the Obama administration’s “electronic health records” mandate, which was supposed to vastly improve the quality and efficiency of care.

It’s had the opposite effect. A Mayo Clinic survey found that the EHR mandate is reducing efficiency, increasing costs and paperwork hassles, and pushing more doctors to quit or retire early.

A Harris Poll found that 59% of doctors say the current EHR system foisted on them by the Obama administration needs “a complete overhaul,” and 40% say it imposes more challenges than benefits.

ObamaCare continued what had been a long and sorry trend in health care. Government-imposed rules designed to fix some problem in the system instead generated mountains of new administrative work.

The result has been that while the number of physicians in the country has climbed modestly over the past three decades, the number of health care administrators exploded.

This is an illustration of the consequences of government interference in the free market. The free market isn’t perfect, but it is the best way to keep prices down, innovation up, and industries (and professions) moving forward.

The Double Standard At Work

There is a really ugly scandal evolving about New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. It seems that he had a close friendship with a major Democratic donor named Dr. Salomon Melgen. The two of them frequently flew on the Doctor’s private jet to the Dominican Republic where the Senator spent time with underage prostitutes.

The story can be found at Breitbart.com and in the Daily Caller. Recently the Doctor’s offices were raided by the FBI and records removed from the office. So what is this all about? News reports state Menendez has denied published reports he improperly lobbied on behalf of Melgen’s interest in a Dominican Republic Port security contractor.

To be very honest, this scandal is going nowhere. (I would love to be wrong about this.) The Senator did something gross outside of the country, and I don’t even know if what he did is illegal in the Dominican Republic. There is an ethics violation if he accepted free flights, but that will be corrected by paying for the flights. Essentially, I believe that this is much ado about something that will actually have no impact on anything. Unfortunately this man was legally elected to the Senate and the cronyism in the Senate (particularly among Democrats and the media) will keep his dishonesty and shameful behavior from causing him any problems.

Until we elect honorable men to Congress and the press actually reports the news accurately, this sort of thing will continue unpunished.

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