Sunday, April 6, 2008

Live in Massachusetts? Thinking about changing doctors? Think twice

I wrote a bit last week about why Massachusetts' universal health care program was a budget-buster for this state, currently facing with a $1.3 billion budget deficit. Don't get me wrong-- I'm all in favor of universal health care, but not on a state by state level and not the one we have in Massachusetts.

Now the New York Times reports that the Massachusetts system is struggling with the increased patient load It's not so much that there are fewer doctors (although that's true with primary care) but that more people are now seeking long-delayed care and treatment-- an additional 340,000 just in the last year. The average wait for a new patient to see an internist has gone from 33 days in 2006 to 52 days in 2007. Specialties fare no better. For the first time in my life, I have private health care; my primary care doctor scheduled a visit with an endocrinologist for me-- and it's six months away!

Other problems with Massachusetts' system are emerging, some outlined in the NYTimes article. Woe to the Massachusetts non-profits, especially Health Care for All, that abandoned a truly universal coverage plan to support then-Governor Romney's mandatory, private-pay system. What good is health care if you can't get in to see a doctor in a timely manner?

Photo by The Opportunity Agenda

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