You want to see a doctor? You’re going to have to wait. And I don’t mean like an hour in the office. I mean like 53 days.
It’s not some doomsday story from the future. It’s happening today here in Massachusetts. Massachusetts — the state whose 2006 law was the model for the federal healthcare reform law. Massachusetts — home to some of the world’s best medical centers and doctors. And, as the Boston Globe’s “White Coat Notes” blog reports, Massachusetts — home to doctor shortages and long waits to see a doctor:
When primary care patients do secure an appointment for a non-urgent matter, they have to wait to get in the door, the survey found. The average delay is 29 days to see a family medicine doctor, down from 44 days last year, and 53 days to see an internist, up from 44 days last year.
The report said shortages also exist in dermatology, emergency medicine, general surgery, neurology, orthopedics, psychiatry, urology, and vascular surgery.
But what about costs? If you make sure everyone’s covered, you’ve got the foundation for real cost control, right? Unfortunately, no. Healthcare costs have been booming in Massachusetts:
Costs are rising relentlessly for both families and for the state government. The median annual premium for family plans jumped 10% from 2007 to 2009 to $14,300 — again, that’s a substantial rise on top of an already enormous number. For small businesses, the increase was 12%. In 2006, the state spent around $1 billion on Medicaid, subsidies for medium-to-lower earners, and other health-care programs. Today, the figure is $1.75 billion. The federal government absorbed half of the increase.
So what are the lessons for the future of American healthcare? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*