2/24: The doctor is not in

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, and the numbers may not get much better in the short term.

The new health care laws are bringing more people into the system, even as increasing numbers of medical students opt to earn more money — to pay off their growing school debts — by becoming specialists.

Today, one expert looks at where Georgia fits nationally, and a medical school dean writes about what needs to be done to correct the problem.

What are your ideas on the subject?

19 comments Add your comment


February 25th, 2012
8:36 am

We like to think of our Doctors as selfless beings dedicated to helping humanity. The brutal truth is doctors are no different than anyone else and are in medicine just for the buck. They will practice where the money is and it is not in primary care.

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February 24th, 2012
4:20 pm

Once Again: That might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. If old school natural and homeopathic medicine was so great, then why did people die by the millions of health issues that we can easily solve now with modern medicine? You quote 250,000 lives killed by modern medicine. I count billions of lives saved.


February 24th, 2012
11:07 am

Legislators, Insurance Co.’s, Lawyers, Drug Co.’s and Immigrants all cause the cost of Health care to go up. Where do you start to lower the cost?

Hillbilly D

February 24th, 2012
10:44 am

I knew a family doctor who was fired from a practice for spending too much time with the patients. That pretty much says it all.

I also went to a $400K a year specialist, who maybe spend 2 minutes in the room with me. He acted like he was in a hurry to go pee or something.

Once Again

February 24th, 2012
9:41 am

Bisnono – the traditional medical community is responsible for around 250,000 deaths every year from misdiagnosis, improper application of treatment, drug mixups and overdoses, and just plain screwups. Your faith in healing after the fact (which is the basis of traditional medicine) rather than alternatives that focues on health and prevention is typical of why our system is so broken. Vitamins, herbal supplements, accupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and the like have been the foundation for medicine throughout the world for many thousands of years. Countries that embrace these things over traditional western medical practices have lower incidences of disease and far lower costs of care. It is the medical/pharmceutical/government monopoly that has driven access to these things and sound knowledge of them underground or into the shadows. Insurance companies are not allowed to cover them because of government mandates and tax laws, fully supported medical claims are disallowed by a corrupt FDA that is only capable of giving blessing to drugs presented by their friends in BigPharma and the like. The sad part is that millions are waking up to the benefits of health over invasive medicine and are finding an establishment in isurance and government that has not kept pace with these changes in the mentality of the population.

All anyone wants is freedom. If you wish to continue to throw harmful chemicals down your throat rather than put healing products from nature into your body, so be it. But allowing an establishment that restricts those things from the rest of us is criminal, unamerican, and must end.

Once Again

February 24th, 2012
9:32 am

Revenue Cycle Expert – You do not have a choice. If the state, your employer, and dozens of others have restricted the market or decided on your options, then you do NOT have a choice to make. Yes, there are still options to choose from, but that is a hollow argument. Where are the insurance companies that cover homeopathy, accupuncture, vitamins, supplements, etc.? Where are the laws that allow advertising of clinical studies showing the benefits of supplements, etc.? They are absent. Instead the FDA is shutting down raw milk dairies, banning cherry growers from advertising health benefits, shutting down walnut growers for the same, etc. You may THINK there is no collusion between the medical profession and the government, but even a cursory investigation shows corruption going back to the end of the 1800s and it is the root cause of virtually ever major problem we have today with spiraling costs and restricted access to care. And yes, there certainly is a component of personal responsibility in health, but what incentive does anyone have when the system has been designed to make everyone believe that health care should cost nothing, that insurance should cover everything, and that there is no financial benefit to being healthy. That can only come by restoring the free market and allowing creative and innovative solutions (without the manipulative influence of the govenrment or the medical establishment) to come into their own.


February 24th, 2012
8:26 am

No one hopes they will NEED to use their health insurance. As someone who has had to struggle to manage a chronic health condition which I have had since birth, I am thankful to have coverage because without it, My quality of life and health would both dramatically deteriorate. If you are fortunate enough to be in perfect health, great. But for those struggling with chronic or life-threatening health problems, insurance is a necessity and my family would be bankrupt without it.

States with rural populations have struggled with having enough family doctors for years-this isn’t a new problem caused by the health regulations enacted under President Obama. The bottom line is that without some incentive, it is hard for rural areas to recruit and retain family docs. Some of this is because rural docs earn less than those practicing in metropolitan areas, and when your debt from 12 years of schooling exceeds 6 figures, however idealistic you may be about serving a small community where you can really get to know your patients, it may amount to a simple numbers game that determines where you practice. Why would someone opt to make less money and take longer to pay off college loans if they could make more and pay off debt sooner by choosing to work in a city.

Finally, Freedom Lover, insurance will cover an annual physical for you often for a minimum copay. Why? Because they recognize that preventive care such as annual physicals, well child exams, and prenatal care exams result in healthier patients and a better bottom line. If your annual physical shows that you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, your doc can prescribe meds and lifestyle changes to improve your health, rather than you having a stroke or heart attack and needing major medical care possibly for the rest of your life. If health insurance companies moved to a model where only catastrophic health problems were covered, they would actually pay out more and have lower profits because instead of a $100 annual physical and $500 in bloodwork, they’d be paying for extended time in the ICU and expensive surgical procedures, not to mention physical therapy and possibly placement in a rehabilitation facility, which are all costly. This isn’t about freedom, or evil money grubbing doctors or politics. You mess with medicine, you’re messing with people’s lives and their financial health. And as for the naturopathic community and your comments about the AMA, I for one would rather go to a licensed physician with training that is at a level necessary to care for my condition than to waste my time on treatments with no scientifically proven basis from someone without significant medical training who can properly diagnose my problem. If you want to spend your time seeing chiropractors and taking Unregulated herbal treatments instead of seeing an M.D. and taking medications that have gone through rigorous testing to ensure quality and safety standards are met, you be my guest. The insurance company will be thrilled that you are not being treated within their system because the less you use insurance, the bigger the company’s profit.

Top 1%

February 24th, 2012
8:14 am

Let the poor go to witch doctors, leave the quality health care to those of us who can pay for it! Tell Uncle Stupid and his Washington Clowns to keep their worthless hands out of your life!