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In California, doctors face greater scrutiny while patients face diminished choice. Will it work? (Photo: Halfpoint/Shutterstock)

Is There a Doctor in The House?

Will a purely government run state health care system attract the best and most competent physicians to California?

By Martin Marks, January 30, 2022 2:04 am

Consider that the better question may be, “Is there a decent doctor in the house?”

The Medical Board of California has recently asked the State Legislature to amp up the ability to discipline doctors who have run afoul of the system. Included in the request was a petition asking for lowering the burden of proof standards for bad doctor prosecutions while at the same time increasing medical licensing fees, the primary source of revenue for the State Board.

So, what is driving these and other requests for reform? Assertions have been made that the Medical Board has been too lenient with doctors accused of malpractice or worse.

Perhaps, though, there is reason to ask whether California and other states are now finding that the profession that historically attracted our best and brightest is failing to do so for good reasons.

Studies and reports are showing that the nation will experience a significant shortage of physicians in the coming years primarily due to an expanded need to serve an aging population with greater life expectancies.  For the time being, applications to medical schools are increasing, but the capacity to admit them to U.S. schools has not which forces lesser qualified applicants to train in foreign programs.  But can we realistically expect our best and brightest to seek a career in medicine moving forward?  Consider:

  • As with most post high school education, the cost of attending medical school continue to skyrocket yearly to an average now of nearly $55,000/year. While these staggering numbers reflect the cost of tuition, fees and insurance, they do not take into account the cost of living expenses. Ultimately, a medical school graduate will leave school with an average student loan debt of nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
  • After graduating medical school, the loan repayment begins, but the training does not end. Post-doctoral residency programs will last between 3 to 7 years and the average resident compensation will average around $60,000/year—hardly making the new doctor a 1 percenter.
  • After enjoying relative stability for a decade or so, medical malpractice insurance premiums are on the rise again….precipitously. Whereas doctors in Los Angeles County tend to experience lower premiums relative to other metro areas in the U.S., the overall numbers can be daunting. Depending upon specialty and geographic location of practice, premiums can range from approximately $7500/year to well past $200,000/year. This can account for 3-4% of a doctor’s income.
  • Aside from financial issues associated with the costs of education and establishment of a medical practice, there are certainly other stresses that might make a prospective physician think twice before entering the field and most definitely causing the doctor to look back after choosing a career in medicine and lament that choice. A 2019 American Federation of Family Physician (AFFP) survey indicates that 39%
    Assemblyman Ash Kalra. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

    of physicians would not choose a career in medicine if given the choice again.  The survey further cited that the greatest source of unhappiness in their medical practice were a lack of control, and clerical burdens.  There can be no doubt that the influence of managed care insurance and the corporatization of health care directly contribute to these particular leaders in unhappiness.

Perhaps the most important if not startling development of late is proposed Assembly Bill 1400 authored by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D- San Jose) which would ultimately establish CalCare, a first-in-the-nation single-payer state universal health care system. The plan would be funded by the largest tax increase in California history through a state constitutional amendment ultimately needing approval of California voters.

Not surprisingly, influential organizations such as the California Medical Association and California Hospital Association are highly critical of the proposal. While the merits of this monumental proposal, which would have government assume control of roughly 10% of the California economy require significant exploration and debate, for now it is reasonable to consider whether a purely government run state health care system will attract the best and most competent physicians to California in a time where doctor shortages are projected and the Medical Board of California is finding a need to amp up their ability to root out and prosecute less than adequate doctors.

As a California taxpayer, but perhaps more importantly as a California patient or future patient, the debate centered around Assembly bill 1400 and a potential referendum to amend the State Constitution merit continuing scrutiny.

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6 thoughts on “Is There a Doctor in The House?

  1. There already is a shortage of physicians. For the past five years just to name one specialty, it is impossible to get in to see a mental health provider for many many months, if at all. Podiatrists, endocrinologists, the list goes on. This is a problem all across the US but seems to be a bigger problem in CA. Do you think Kaiser, being the largest HMO in CA, will stay in CA with socialized medicine? After all, Kaiser is in it to make a profit. Profits will be minimal, salaries will not be comparable, and quality of care will further decline. One more reason for folks to leave the once great state! Socialized medicine at its best! Why do you think Canadians come to the US for healthcare??

  2. No, this is actually the continuation of weaponizing the medical profession as part of the Communist Democrat control of society via vaccine mandates and forced injections…
    #ResistTheClotShots

  3. Wipe the slate clean and we are remaking our health care system.

    There never were any decent doctors who were not in their system, they have it all rigged. Their training got off on the wrong foot from the beginning. Most of them are trained liars and barbaric robots who work for big pharma.
    Its all changing thanks to the plandemic. People are finding out about all of these mostly big fat liars.
    Pasteur was a fraud just like Fauci is.

  4. Wouldn’t hurt to contact your state assembly member today and let them know you oppose this and nag them to vote NO. It’s about the money of course, but not ONLY about the money, it’s about the ruination of decent health care in this state. Good nurses are often the last line of defense and you don’t want the angel nurses run out of town and replaced by whatever the heartless and greedy nurse’s public employee union would like to see hovering over your sick bed. Find your rep here. Call or at least send a short note that you oppose AB 1400 and want them to vote NO.
    https://www.assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers/

  5. California is weaponizing their professional licensing boards further decimating the various health professions in California. The will result in less access to services. This is what you get with a left wing government….more government. Elitists like Newsom could care less.

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