Well, this concerned me enough that I decided to do a little research about whether the problem exists in other parts of the country. And, sure enough, other parts of the country are having similar issues. There are numerous articles online about hospital budget shortages due to uninsured patient expenses and other articles citing various budget cuts affecting residency programs. Is it just me, or is it likely the two are related in places other than Texas?
This is something I find frightening. Many rural and semi-rural places already face doctor shortages. Many hospitals already have patient to doctor ratios that are way off balance. Waiting rooms are filled more and more for longer and longer. What happens if we see significant drops in the number of doctors available nationwide?
Insured patients and taxpayers are already "picking up the tab" for the uninsured. We are likely going to be targeted for additional funds if the socialist systems so favored by far too many in DC get implemented. All of these things have already begun to compromise health care in the US. If doctors become an endangered species due to lack of training facilities, we are really out of luck! Or even worse, I fear ending up with inadequately trained doctors due to some unsafe practices regarding overly long stints of duty for med students, residents, and interns.
We hear about how military veterans and dependents are "over-using" resources, as well as how the elderly medical needs are another financial burden to society. But, no one seems to want to address the drain caused by the unemployed, uninsured, and non-citizens that go into the ERs on the dole.
My father and husband were both career military. Both were promised free health care for life, for themselves and their dependents. Both now have to pay for Tricare or go to the bottom of the appointment list. Meanwhile, the government's talking about taking a bigger bite from veterans' income for them to continue having even the care they now get.
Doctor shortages are just one more health care problem that I fear will escalate if we are so unlucky as to have "Obamacare" implemented. We just have to look at Canada, Britain, and Massachusetts to see what government-run, single-payer health care programs offer. They offer very little in the way of quality, service, or assurance. Our own MediCare, MedicAid, and VA systems give us additional views into the poor results that come from government involvement in something so personal as one's health.
I realize society needs to care for those less fortunate, especially children. We also owe a debt to those military members who have paved the way for our freedom. We owe our elderly the gift of respect for their needs as well, that they might maintain dignity in their twilight years. However, I don't think we owe anything to adults who brazenly flout our laws by entering our country illegally and then expect to be cared for with taxpayer funds, while many of them engage in further unlawful acts.
Let's not allow doctor shortages and medical rationing to takeover our health care system by letting "Obamacare" be snuck thru the backdoor with scare tactics now employed by the Far Left as they play on emotions to implement their Socialist agenda. Don't back-down in making efforts to face politicians in Town Hall Meetings, TEA Parties, or other forums. Express opinions to them by email, phone, and snail-mail. Send letters to your local paper. And, check out resources online for putting the word out about what's going on regarding the push for socialized medicine in America.
We owe it to all citizens to provide a society that allows the environs doctors need to practice medicine rather than having to play hospital politics and fight economic pressures. We owe it to ourselves to fight for our freedoms, including the freedom to care for ourselves as we choose.
© Suzann C. Darnall, July 2009 UPDATED