IN HIS column about health care in Massachusetts, Jeff Jacoby mentions that residents have to wait to get appointments for primary care physicians, as many doctors have closed their practices to new patients. Because it’s just simply easier and more fun to pile on health care reform in Massachusetts, Jacoby ignores other well-documented causes of these kinds of problems.
In particular, a major shortage of current and entering primary care physicians has existed for a long time and will only get worse as more boomers retire. Many medical students find specialty practices more desirable, choosing them over primary care given the latter’s often much lower pay and demanding hours.
It’s disingenuous to assume that Romneycare was going to fix a systemic problem that already existed prior to its adoption. If we want to have more practices open their doors to new patients and reduce the lines, we need to get more medical students interested in being primary care physicians. It’s as a simple as that.