Another day, another report in the local newspaper about the shortage of doctors, driven by the policies and pay under which government programs expect physicians to labor.
The latest is Michigan’s South Bend Tribune, which reports that several thousand physicians have stopped practicing in the state. The Michigan State Medical Society assigns primary blame to a recent 8 percent cut in Medicare and Medicaid fees.
These government programs are nothing short of miraculous: Per capita spending on both Medicare and Medicaid have increased one third more than private health spending, from 1970 through 2008. Nevertheless, their dependents are rapidly losing access to medical services, because reimbursements are too low. Only government could have a track record like that, and keep proposing their expansion.
Instead of fixing these broken programs, the health “reform” proposes to decimate Medicare Advantage, a program which reduces Medicare’s hidden tax on private plans, and provides better care to beneficiaries than the traditional Medicare monopoly.
If the government succeeds, the flow of patients escaping government-rationed care across the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor (Ontario) and Detroit might well reverse itself.
— John R. Graham is director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.