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California to Deal with ObamaCare Doctor Shortage by Redefining Pharmacists and Optometrists as Doctors

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On February 11, 2013 @ 11:36 am In The Point | 19 Comments

Everyone can see a doctor, so long as doctor is defined as your neighborhood pharmacist or a nurse practitioner. As health care becomes like Wal-Mart, everyone will be able to eventually see a medical professional of some kind on their $20,000 a year plan.

Finally America will be just like Europe.

As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama’s healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients.

But a bill was signed? Are you telling me that passing a law doesn’t immediately create a supply to fill a demand? Wait… does this mean that Socialism doesn’t work?

But don’t worry, Socialism always has a solution. If there aren’t enough doctors, we’ll make more doctors. Unionized doctors without the medical school part.

Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare. They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices.

Isn’t this a brave new world?

Sure your insurance will no longer cover doctor visits, but you will have access to a Nurse Practitioner, who in keeping with treatment quotas, may eventually give you a referral to an actual doctor, hopefully before you’re dead.

Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.

And the kid down the block who worked as a lifeguard, he can treat your broken leg. The EMT in your neighborhood is now your primary care physician.

It’s ObamaCare for an ObamaWorld.

“We’re going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. “What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?”

It’s no good at all, but calling a pharmacist a doctor does not mean that you now have access to a doctor. It means you’re being screwed.

Such “scope-of-practice” fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems. About 350 laws altering what health professionals may do have been enacted nationwide in the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since Jan. 1, more than 50 additional proposals have been launched in 24 states.

This is your new Post-Doctor healthcare. It comes with ObamaCare.

Hernandez, who said he would introduce his legislation and hold a hearing on the issue next month, said his own experience as an optometrist shows the need to empower more practitioners. He said he often sees Medicaid patients who come to his La Puente practice because they have failed their vision test at the DMV. Many complain of constant thirst and frequent urination.

“I know it’s diabetes,” he said. But he is not allowed to diagnose or treat it and must refer those patients elsewhere. Many of them may face a months-long wait to see a doctor.

I often encounter people who have swollen joints and eat a lot of meat. I know it’s gout. Why can’t I diagnose them? Sure I’m not a doctor, but it’s not like California is fussy these days. Give me a Physicians Desk Reference and let me go to town.

Administrators of community clinics and public hospitals say nurse practitioners and other non-physician providers already play key roles in caring for patients, a trend they predict will grow as more Californians become insured and enter the healthcare system.

Critics of ObamaCare repeatedly predicted that this would happen. That you wouldn’t see doctors, just nurse practitioners. And we were told that was crazy. It would never happen. And they were right. Patients won’t be seeing nurse practitioners, they’ll be on a waiting list to see a nurse practitioner.

This is your health care. This is your health care on Obama.


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