Here’s a central difficulty of the Affordable Care Act: If everyone has access to health insurance, then everyone has access to all the medical care they need. But curing sickness and preventing death is costly, so why not save money and lives by making primary care doctors more affordable?
After all, it’s our business to KEEP you healthy. And keeping you healthy cuts costs in the long-run.
However, we don’t and won’t have enough primary care providers in the United States unless things change.
There are people thinking about how to build a better health care future. People wondering, How do we train more primary care providers? How do we encourage them to work in the communities where their services are needed most?
The National Health Service Corps is one answer, and the president is banking on it through a proposed $3.5 billion expansion through 2020.
This will increase the number of primary care providers involved in the program from 9000 to 15,000.
Yes, there’s undoubtedly a staggering list of ideal benefits to such a program.
But is 6,000 more primary care doctors good enough for that price tag?
Or is that just going to wrap us in more red tape?
People in the administration are also wondering, once we have recruited and trained these health care professionals committed to providing primary care in underserved communities, how do we get them to stay in the profession and places where they are needed most?
Obviously we have a long and winding road in front of us. Direct Care is something we adamantly believe in, because we’re witnessing its success firsthand. But we should caveat the enthusiasm: Thought leaders and policy leaders will play a major role in Direct Care’s WIDESPREAD success — success that can benefit EVERYONE in society.
Right now, our goal is motivate students to BELIEVE they can provide good care, to BELIEVE they can be good doctor. We want to educate the public that our model WORKS so that students know that a successful and satisfying career in medicine IS POSSIBLE.
However, we should be clear that Direct Care isn’t a silver bullet. We’re disheartened when critics attack us because we can’t help everyone. Sadly, that just isn’t possible.
However, we do know that every doctor who LEAVES medicine isn’t treating ANYONE.
That we can agree on.
So, if we develop the most affordable way to bring the most benefit to a community, and satisfaction to a physician, are we really the problem?
Or is it society itself that can’t see beyond the current paradigm and allow a shift to occur at all.