Saturday, August 08, 2009

Obamacare, Your Doctor and You


Here's some simple math about the new Health Care bill that Comrades Obama, Pelosi, and Reid want to pass. Every person in America will get a physical once a year. If you have private insurance, you'll deal with your own plan. If you don't have insurance, Congress and The White House want to provide you with preventative care. Hey, you can't get much more preventative than an annual check-up.

USA Today says that in 2005 there were 800,000 active physicians in the US. We're turning out about 25,000 new docs per year. And some are retiring every year. USA Today says that roughly each new doctor is matched by a retiring one. Let's assume that 800,000 is about the right number of doctors.

There are 300,000,000 people in the US. Do the math.

300,000,000 people divided by 800,000 doctors is 375 people per doctor.

If we're going to give each person a physical each year, then each and every doctor will have to give roughly 1 physical per day, every day of the year, in order to cover everyone.

300,000,000 physical examinations each year, including blood tests. My last physical was about $200 for the exam, and $300 for the blood work.

300,000,000 exams times $500 each equals $150 billion dollars a year. That's just to get a finger up your...well, you know.
Let's hope they don't charge us extra for the gloves.

But let's get real...many doctors are specialists. They don't do physicals. Family practitioners do "turn your head and cough" exams. CNN says that about 25% of doctors are family practitioners. More math.

800,000 doctors times 25% equals 200,000 family practitioners.

300,000,000 exams divided by 200,000 family practitioners equals 1,500 exams per doctor.

5 works days per week times 50 weeks equals 250 work days per year. (Hey, doctors go on vacations, too.)

1,500 exams per year, per doctor divided by 250 work days equals 6 physicals per doctor per day.

How long did your last physical take? I saw my doctor for about 30 minutes. He's a nice guy, and I'm pretty healthy, so he really didn't need to spend more time with me. The rest of the time I was dealing with a nurse or a physician's assistant. The doc did the finger prod, then came back and told me to lose some weight and, you know, take better care of myself. (I don't smoke. I don't dip Copenhagen like my brother does.)

More math.

6 physicals per day times 30 minutes each equals 180 minutes or 3 hours.

CNN says that 40% of a doctor's time is paperwork.

180 minutes times 40% equals 72 minutes for paperwork.
180 minutes of exam time + 72 minutes for paperwork = 252 minutes per day, or 4 hours and 12 minutes.

That's about half of a workday just to do physicals.

When was the last time you tried to get in to see your doctor for a physical? How far in advance did you have to schedule it? What do you think it will be like to try to get everyone, all of your neighbors, all of your friends, your local cops and fire fighters, an appointment to see your doctor?

Now, let's talk about how many people each year break fingers, toes, collar bones, legs, arms, and ribs. How about when you get a cold or an ear infection or need a stitch or two in your forehead?

Be careful what you wish for, liberals. Because if you can't get in to see your doctor to get your physical, or to get a few stitches, or get a flu shot -- that's called rationing. And I'm not trying to scare anyone. I'm just being realistic. The real numbers are scary enough.

I don't like it...not at all. But it would be a hoot to have my Senator Numbnuts in line behind me at the doc's office. Oh, yeah, this won't apply to them. They have their own "gold-plated coverage". Never mind.

From CNN July 18, 2009 and USA Today February 2, 2005

FAIL font from


Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, seems to agree with me...and he's done the cost side of the equation.
“For example, many observers point to cases in which a simple medical test, if given early enough, can reveal a condition that is treatable at a fraction of the cost of treating that same illness after it has progressed. In such cases, an ounce of prevention improves health and reduces spending — for that individual,” Elmendorf wrote. “But when analyzing the effects of preventive care on total spending for health care, it is important to recognize that doctors do not know beforehand which patients are going to develop costly illnesses. To avert one case of acute illness, it is usually necessary to provide preventive care to many patients, most of whom would not have suffered that illness anyway. (emphasis mine) … Researchers who have examined the effects of preventive care generally find that the added costs of widespread use of preventive services tend to exceed the savings from averted illness.”
H/T Bookworm Room

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