April 13, 2009
Vanishing Doctors
By Jim Babka

Quote of the Day: "Government cripples you, then hands you a crutch and says, 'See, if it wasn't for us, you couldn't walk." -- Harry Browne (1933-2006), co-founder of Downsize DC

Subject: The not so mysterious case of the vanishing doctors

In case you missed it . . .

A survey by The Physician's Foundation finds that nearly HALF of primary care doctors plan to reduce or eliminate their practices in the next three years!

The survey also gives the reasons . . .

* Too much non-clinical paperwork
* Difficulty getting reimbursed
* Too much government regulation
* Lack of time (caused by the above problems) to form patient relationships

These problems exist because the government has corrupted the nature of health insurance.

* Insurance is supposed to cover rare but expensive procedures
* But various government policies have made health insurance cover the medical equivalents of oil changes and tire rotations
* This means that most medical care is paid for by the government, or by insurance companies, and not by the people actually seeking the care
* This causes people to over-use medical services, and doctors to order questionable procedures
* That causes both insurance companies and the government to limit their costs by second-guessing every decision your doctor makes
* This burden of regulation leads to piles of non-clinical paperwork and difficulty getting reimbursed

But it gets worse. Health care prices are actually set by the government . . .

* The government funds HALF of all medical care
* This gives the government huge clout as the largest purchaser of health care
* The government uses this clout to limit what it's willing to pay for every medical procedure
* The insurance companies use these government prices to set their own prices
* If these fixed prices are too low, shortages result, AND DOCTORS VANISH!

But that's only the beginning . . .

If your health insurance is tied to your employer -- if you risk catastrophe because losing your job means losing your health insurance -- you can thank the government for that. Federal tax policies created the incentives that caused your health insurance to be tied to your job.

But if you don't have employer-provided health insurance, and find coverage too expensive to buy on your own, you can thank the government for that too. State and federal laws mandate that insurance policies cover everything under the sun, making it hard to buy affordable major medical coverage.

The politicians could easily fix these problems by . . .

* Providing tax refunds for all health care expenses, including insurance premiums
* Allowing insurance companies to compete with different policies at different prices by ending mandates on what all health insurance must cover
* Funding Health Savings Accounts for Medicare recipients so they'll have more incentives to be frugal

The solution to our health care problems is less meddling by the politicians, not more. The case of the vanishing doctors isn't mysterious. The politicians did it, and they want to do more of what caused it!

Send your Congressional employees instructions asking them reduce their meddling in health care. Use your personal comments to mention the arguments in this Dispatch (you could just cut and paste if you want). If you've used our Educate the Powerful System before, do the following . . .

* Go to the home page
* Log-in using the log-in button at the right of the navigation bar near the top of the page
* Scroll down and click on the link for campaign number 16. Federal Health Care Monopoly . . . First Do No Harm (Here's the direct link)
* Scroll down to the form at the bottom of the page and send your message

If you're sending your very FIRST message to Congress using our system, click on this link, scroll down to the form, fill it out, and send your message.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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