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I was speaking with a doctor friend of mine who has been practicing for 30+ years and has two children.  I asked her how her daughter was doing in college, “She’s great.  I’m so glad she decided to go into international affairs rather than medicine.  I nearly pleaded with her not to be a doctor.”

12 medical specialty stereotypesThis sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?  Parents asking their children NOT to be doctors?  Next thing you know parents will be feeding candy through bottles and insisting going over the speed limit is actually safer.  Seat belts?  Puh, just another way society tries to control you!

The disdain many doctors are starting to feel about their own profession isn’t unfounded.  Let’s face it: medical school is a bitch, you get paid jack squat all through the program, you work inhumane, hospital hours for years on end, you can’t establish a normal family life until you’re 30 (if then), and the paperwork is so demanding that you can’t actually focus on patient care.  OH, and on top of that you make daily decisions that may or may not kill people.  The job sounds like shit to me, which is why I never, ever want to be (or date) a doctor.

So the fact that more and more doctors aren’t accepting Medicare patients does not surprise me.  For a while now, many doctors have been closing their doors to “the system.”  For instance, my own family doctor gave up this hospital privileges (meaning if his patient was admitted to the hospital, he could make no further medical decisions for him, nor could he be an “admitting doctor” for that hospital).  He did this because he said the hospitals tried to coerce him into admitting patients who didn’t need hospitalization, pushed him to over-charge for services, insisted he order tests the patient didn’t need, etc.  Basically, the system was strong-arming him.

This coming year, the ObamaCare law is scheduled to markedly reduce payments to doctors and hospitals. According to the Medicare Board of Trustees, “an almost 31-percent reduction in Medicare payment rates for physician services will be implemented in 2013.”   By 2019, payments become even lower than Medicaid, a system by which doctors already lose money and therefore refuse to accept new patients.  –  Forbes

Yep, it’s not looking good, folks.  I try to stay away from political banter on this site but in this case, I just can’t help myself: Obama care was a moronic implementation of a nice idea that can never work.  I admit full-heartedly the healthcare system needs a revamp, but it’s not going to get what it needs through the ideals of Obamacare.  And in the meantime, this could be a our future:

  1. People stop wanting to be doctors.  After all, a main draw to the field revolves around the fact that doctors can bank once they’re established.  If you cut doctor’s pay enough, they’ll just stop being doctors.
  2. Doctors will start specializing and refusing care to patients who cause them strife.  Ironically, this means the only people who will be able to get care will be rich people with lots of resources, which is the opposite affect Obama was going for I think.
  3. More nurses will quit because the support system, staff and benefits just won’t be there anymore.  In other words, the negatives will outweigh the positives.
  4. More nurses will move right from school into Nurse Practitioner programs, a position that is already starting to replace many doctors.  But they might eventually quit too because the stress placed on NPs when less doctors and nurses are available will be too great (not to mention NPs will start having a lot of the paperwork stress that doctors have).

Nervous 2Let’s hope this is just a random, future nurse spouting off on her blog and not a realistic indication of our future.

What to do if your doctor doesn’t take Medicare.