It’s Time for the Political Left to Step Forward, Start Acting and Not Just Reacting — Part III.b

In this part, I begin outlining a plan to reduce the shortage of physicians and change how healthcare is funded.

In Part III.a, I outlined the healthcare provider variable that is currently impacting the delivery of healthcare services. There is a shortage of the front line provider and the shortage is only going to grow worse in the decades to come. This shortage also has an impact on the cost of delivering healthcare services as well as the availability such services to all citizens.

The shortage of qualified physicians, especially general practice physicians, and other healthcare providers is a crisis that will only get worse over the next two to three decades. The education and training is both time consuming and expensive. Based on the need to counteract this crisis, it is only appropriate that the federal government should become involved. It should take on a role that is both supportive to the current system and active toward the improvement of service delivery to the un-served and to the underserved within the population. This can only be achieved by placing control of the program/s under direct control of the U.S. Public Health Service.

The first step is to use public funds to open 50 new government owned and operated medical schools and teaching hospitals. These schools and hospitals would be established in underserved areas of the nation. Although owned and operated by the federal government, these institutions would be staffed by a combination of public health professionals and private teaching professionals. The ultimate goal is to graduate 100 new doctors per year from each institution for a net gain of 5,000 new physicians each year. The primary focus would be on those fields of study with the greatest need such as general practitioners and family medicine. Not only would the public medical schools train new physicians, but also other healthcare professionals; including physician assistants, dentists, and nurses. Included would also be graduate school candidates for PhDs in medical research.

The cost of the education and training of public health medical schools and teaching hospitals would be free of charge to the students with an agreement of a period of service in the public healthcare system or military. Recommended would be that physicians would serve for eight years, physician assistants, PhDs and dentists serve for six years, and nurses for four years.

The second step is to establish public hospitals and clinics in the most underserved areas of the nation. These clinics and hospitals would be staffed by graduates and others from the public healthcare medical schools, serving out their terms of service. Service fees for the hospitals and clinics would be based on the patient’s ability to pay for such services. There would be a sliding fee assessed based on the ability to pay. The public hospitals and clinics would also accept insurance third party payment for such services. Included in the hospitals and clinics would also have government funded pharmacies.

The funding of the program could be easily achieved along with additional funding to Medicare, Medicaid and CHIPS by assessing a National Sales Tax of 5% on all retail sales and services, excluding food and prescription drugs. This would generate an estimated $211 billion per annum. This would be more than enough to satisfy present and future requirements until the nation can transition to a NHS.

By increasing the supply of healthcare delivery personal, the impact could force a reduction on the cost of the healthcare delivery with the government funded hospitals and clinics providing a downward pressure on service delivery costs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lyle Ruble July 08, 2012 at 09:58 PM
@Phil M...You raise interesting points. We have a recognized shortage of physicians to care for the "baby boomers" who will be retiring in large numbers. In addition, we have nearly 17% of the population that is either under served or not served at all except in E.R. rooms. There are two primary issues here; 1) an imbalance in the available supply of healthcare professionals; and 2) the affordability of quality care to roughtly 50 million Americans. In 1996 there was a concern that we were producing too many physicians. Now we are running a deficit. The established medical community are the ones stating that nearly 7 to 10 thousand more physicians are needed per year. With only 137 medical schools available, it is impossible to educate and train that many more physicians. Therefore, the government is the only entity that can gear up and meet the demand. It is a national issue and requires a national approach that market forces cannot address. If the market could solve the problem then would have already. I think many healthcare service providers are concerned about the additional supply of physicians and others placing a downward pressure on compensation made by many of the providers. As far as placing healthcare providers in under served areas at below market compensation beings to question; are physicians and other healthcare providers entering the profession for the money or to practice medicine.
The Anti-Alinsky July 09, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Sorry Lyle, but Gearhead is right. We are broke. We are beyond broke. We are 15.861 TRILLION in debt. That's more than 50 THOUSAND per citizen. (source: http://www.usdebtclock.org/ )Think about having a 50 THOUSAND dollar credit card debt, what would you do? Most of us would call Peter Francis Geraci and declare bankruptcy. “The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.” ― Warren Buffett
GearHead July 09, 2012 at 02:38 PM
@Lyle, you have an amazing capacity to ignore reality as it slaps you upside the head. We have a barn fire blazing away. Most thinking people would grab a bucket and get busy. But here you sit under a shade tree and are so busy planning an addition to the barn, you are oblivious to the sound of beams, joists and rafters crashing to the floor. What the political left needs to do is find itself a constituency, now that it got clobbered in the recall elections. Offering new plans to use other peoples money to satisfy the latest liberal wet dream will no longer get it done. You're a dinosaur, Lyle, on its way to creating a little more oil for the rest of us.
Nick Poulos July 09, 2012 at 11:08 PM
@Lyle: glad to see you are holding the standard high.For months Progressives, n especially Progressive Conservatives, have been less effective message-wise than the extreme, Ultra-Conservatives. "The Little Blue Book" by G Lakoff n E. Wehling, subtitled,"The essential guide to thinking and talking democratic."These "small government"idealists are not being truthful. The Private needs the Public.Rather than turn our nation over to big business,we need to invest in America's future: now!In the debate about "affordable care or "single payer", we need to emphasize that everyone's life depends upon "medicare for all". it is "The cure for a sick America....Patriotism requires Medicare for all." let's demonstrate how to uncover truth as opposed to swallowing the twaddle from the Koch et. al.crowd Try this reversal: "Conservative officeholders who refuse to raise taxes as a matter of conservative principles are creating deficits." or, Take the myth of the family budget - clearly it is a"manipulation of the idea of deficits"-"The national budget does not function like a family budget at all." clearly,"Wealth disparity is power disparity. Extreme wealth results in political power that ordinary citizens do not have." And, "extreme conservatives seek to control women's sexuality and reproductive health by enacting what they characterize as 'small' policy proposals and measures..." the extreme conservatists inflict damage daily. It poisons the human spirit. It destroys democracy.
george warez July 09, 2012 at 11:20 PM
are you insane or simply full of yourself?


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