We’ve heard the chants of “Yes, we can!” We watched health care reform pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate. Above all, we’ve had a magic number tattooed in our minds since the first whisper of health care reform came out of Washington. 32 million. 32 million people that, once the health care reform package comes to fruition in 2014, would be able to enter into a physician’s office without financial fear.
The idea of just handing out health insurance to those in need of it seems wonderful. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. In a way, it’s like giving everyone in Chicago a free CTA pass for one day. You may have the means to ride the El, but if the train is full, you’re not going anywhere. The same idea goes for health care. In April, Dr. Francis blogged on Beats Per Minute about the shortage of primary care doctors available to care for this surge of now-insured patients and how community health centers could be the new training ground for upcoming generations of primary care doctors. Also back in April, Health Beats blogged about the upcoming physician shortage, as well as the possibility of reducing some of the restrictions on nurse practitioners to help lessen the blow of incoming health care demand surge.