Could Virginia Start Forcing MD's to Accept Medicare & Medicaid Patients?

Kathleen Murphy, a Democrat who is running for the House of Delegates against Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, told a forum in Great Falls on Saturday that doctors should be forced to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients:

FYI last night at the Great Falls Grange debate, Democrat delegate candidate Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted. 

She did not recognize that the payments are inadequate to cover the doctors’ costs.  She also did not recognize there is a shortage of over 45,000 physicians now and that it is forecast to be 90,000 in a few years. 

Democrats appear to want to make physicians slaves of the state, but Democrats don’t admit they would just drive more doctors out of practice into retirement and other occupations.  The Obamacare law and regulations are causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, drop many doctors and hospitals. The HHS internal forecast is 93 million Americans would lose their health insurance due to the Obamacare law and rules about adequacy of insurance.

Many more people will be uninsured.   The penalties for being uninsured start at $95 per year, but the penalties can’t be collected by the IRS if a person does not have a tax refund to attach.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is promising to go toe to toe with the Republican state legislature to set up an Obamacare state exchange in Virginia. Additionally, McAuliffe is running on a campaign promise to expand Medicaid across the Commonwealth.  However, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, there are simply not enough doctors in Virginia to accommodate such an expansion under Obamacare:

Effect of the ACA on Virginia’s Physician Supply. 
As in other states, Virginia’s physician supply is relatively “inelastic,” meaning the number of physicians cannot increase quickly to accommodate the rising demand for medical services an influx of newly insured Medicaid enrollees would create. Virginia physicians have little if any capacity to expand the number of patients they treat. Currently, there are about 29,472 physicians in Virginia, of whom an estimated 22,215 are actively involved in patient care.12  About 85 percent of Virginia’s active doctors work full time – so there is little excess capacity.

According to the Virginia Department of Health Professions Healthcare Workforce Data Center, two-thirds of Virginia’s active physicians are more than 44 years of age, while 20.1 percent are 60 or older.13  Thus, many of these physicians will retire in the next few years. A number of economic studies indicate the newly insured will nearly double their consumption of medical care.14 Yet the demand for health care will continue to rise. Furthermore, an aging population will require more medical care. Across the U.S. 78 million baby boomers are either retired or headed that way in the next decade.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.