Sunday, December 20, 2009

The endless health care debate

As 2009 comes to and end, I often wonder what types of health care changes we will see in 2010. Will the health care debate continue? Will we see the beginnings of some type of universal health care coverage in the United States (AKA, public option)?

Will doctors embrace health IT and switch from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs) in 2010? Or will most wait until 2011 and try to delay that transition? (If they delay, they'll simply miss out on the benefits, so why delay?)

I personally think we'll see some significant changes occur in 2010. More physicians will probably decide to drop Medicare and Medicaid patients. More physicians will transition to cash-only practices. More physicians will look for non-clinical careers (see And, more physicians will simply retire.

So, as more people get access to health care resources, there will be fewer physicians to care for them. Is there a national physician shortage? Some may argue that it's really a regional shortage of primary care physicians, but I think we'll see a real shortage as more people get health insurance and schedule appointments.

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