And now it's on to the really, really bad ideas.
1. One way they plan on increasing primary care doctors is to give a 10% medicaid bonus for 5 years. As in, for 5 years after the bill passes. As if a bonus for only 5 years will really sway medical students, who have many, many thousands of dollars of debt, to choose primary care over a sub-specialty which might mean earning 2-3 times the salary of a primary care doc for their entire career. Medical students are pretty good at math, and this is not going to change anyone's mind. For more people to choose primary care, there must be a BIG change in how doctors are paid.
2. The other brilliant idea (and this is in all the drafts) to increase primary care docs is to take unfilled residency spots from subspecialties and redistribute them to primary care. This is idiotic for numerous reasons. The main reason is that there really aren't any unfilled sub-specialty spots. Dermatology, Radiology, Ophthalmology, ENT surgery - these all fill every single year. In fact, there are always lots more people who want to go into the areas than there are residency spots. Family medicine, on the other hand, only fills about half of their available spots with students graduating from US med schools. EVERY SINGLE YEAR there are tons of open spots in family medicine - these often go to foreign medical grads. Adding more residency spots to primary care will do nothing to increase primary care doctors. (And like I said first, these "spots" they want to redistribute are non-existent.) Apparently, they didn't talk to anyone who has graduated from medical school in the last 10 years when deciding to put this part in.
3. Then there's the abortion issue... There is nothing in this bill to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion. Yes, there are the current bans, but since there will be things that insurance will be required to cover, this will most likely include abortion. Catholic schools or other businesses who have religious or moral objections to abortion or birth control will likely have to cover it. The government should not be able to force someone into paying for something they find morally reprehensible.
So there you have it... lots of my thoughts on health care reform.
I'd say write/email/call your congressperson and tell them what you think. Bills like this make me wish doctors as a whole were more involved in the process. But I know I need to be doing more to let my voice be heard.
Any further thoughts? I'd love to hear what any non-medical people think.