But I thought their health care was so much better than ours, Part 6

From Canada’s National Post:

Health care reforms intended to provide medical coverage to legions of poor Americans could have a serious, unintended fallout for Canada, worsening the already dire doctor shortage here, experts warn.

The reforms promised by president-elect Barack Obama would offer insurance to 45 million U. S. residents who have no coverage. The resulting surge in demand for doctors’ services is likely to trigger a drain on Canada’s already meagre supply of physicians, some analysts say.

Dire doctor shortage?  Meagre supply of physicians?  But I thought Canada didn’t have the problems we knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing Americans with our lack of universal socialized medicine have.  Why is there a lack of physicians in the Great White Health Care Utopia To Our North?

Shouldn’t we be hearing cheers and the popping of champagne corks from the north?  Where are the congratulations that America appears to finally be joining the Universal Health Care Club?  It couldn’t be that socialized medicine has problems and dysfunctions of its own, could it?

The article continues:

As evidence of what might happen nationally in the United States, academics and medical association officials point to Massachusetts, which recently implemented near-universal medical coverage. The reforms are already fuelling serious doctor shortages in a number of specialities, and greater reliance on doctors from other countries.

Studies suggest that uninsured Americans obtain medical services chiefly when they become seriously ill. What they lack is primary care: regular visits to family doctors, pediatricians or internal-medicine specialists, said Brian Rosman, research director for Health Care for All, a Boston-based advocacy group.

It will be those types of practitioners who will face the biggest crunch if and when close to one-sixth of the U. S. population suddenly gains coverage, he said.

In fact, the United States is already seriously short of such doctors. Relatively low pay and high administrative costs make primary care an unattractive option for many medical graduates, U. S. experts say.

It looks like the problems with poorly compensating primary care docs are no respecters of borders.

Hat tip: Jacob Goldstein at the WSJ Health Blog
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