Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oops: Obamacare Strikes in California...

From the Los Angeles Times:
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.

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

"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?"

Hernandez's proposed changes, which would dramatically shake up the medical establishment in California, have set off a turf war with physicians that could contribute to the success or failure of the federal Affordable Care Act in California.
Great. Nobody could have foreseen this, say the liberals. The trouble with with that assertion is that a whole bunch of people did foresee this, including your humble blogger.  It's Economics 101, folks: make a valuable good or service (like healthcare) available to everybody with no (or almost no) incremental cost, and shortages will promptly ensue.

If this doesn't make sense to you, try this simple thought exercise: imagine that you could go to the car dealer and have your choice of (a) a used, beat-up 1954 VW bug, or (b) a brand-new Mercedes CL65, and all you have to pay is a $25 “co-pay”?  Which would you choose – the beater worth a hundred dollars or so, or the $200,000+ Mercedes?  I know I'd be leaving with the Mercedes.  Healthcare under Obamacare works the same way: anybody can have whatever healthcare they want, for (at most) a modest co-pay.  Surprise, surprise, surprise – the demand for great healthcare is going up!

Free markets do a marvelous, organic job of scarce resource allocation...

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