America is facing a shortage of primary care physicians because family doctors and internists are throwing in the towel. According to a new study, half of those who are in practice say they would quit if they had an alternative. They're burned out - not because they have too many patients, but because they're buried in all the red tape from insurance companies and government agencies.
This illustrates what I've been saying all along. We need single-payer universal health care. As it is now, every insurance company, plus Medicare and Medicaid and state and local programs, cover different drugs, procedures, tests, and medical conditions, and each requires different documentation. The amount of paperwork generated costs a fortune in time and money.
The insurance industry continues pumping out propaganda against "socialized medicine." So-called "pro-family" politicians and the numbskulls who vote for them scream that they don't want the government making their health care decisions.
Instead, giant corporations, whose only motivation is profit, decide what kind of care you'll receive, if any. Many employee insurance plans no longer pay for contraception, or for prenatal care, labor and delivery. Deductibles and monthly premiums have skyrocketed. You lose your job - which, in the current economy, is happening to thousands of workers every month - you lose your insurance. If you find a new job with benefits, there's a lengthy waiting period before you're eligible for the plan. If you have a pre-existing condition, forget about it. There are thousands of people on welfare or disability because it's the only way they can qualify for help with medical bills.
Think of the dollars that could be saved if some of those people could go back to work without losing the lifeline Medicare and Medicaid provide them. Think of the marriages that could be saved if couples didn't have to divorce in order to qualify for medical assistance for their kids. Health care workers wouldn't be so burdened with paperwork if every patient had the same coverage.
Single-payer universal health care. It's time. Way past time.