By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”
Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.
Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.
But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.
Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange. She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?
“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.
Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.
Now, to be fair, “many” is not a number. But since when have we gotten good numbers on ObamaCare from the administration? And since California is a Democratic state, top to bottom, we’re not likely to get any good numbers from Covered California, either.
Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors.
“Insurance coverage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to assure that people get access to care when they need it,” Grumbach said.
Those who can’t find a doctor are supposed to lodge a complaint with state regulators, who have been denying the existence of a doctor shortage for months.
Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments.
“What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said.
Experts said the magnitude of the problem is growing, and will soon be felt by all Californians. But those on the front lines, like the free clinic, are feeling it first.
More than 3 million Californians are newly insured. At the same time, a third of our primary care doctors are set to retire.
Well, of course they’re going to retire. ObamaCare’s ACOs are just HMOs all over again. And who wants to go in debt for an M.D. to end up as an employee in a hospital, with some administrative drone making all the medical decisions? I don’t think so.
NOTE  The latest category of good-hearted people Obama has betrayed.
NOTE Now that the “ZOMG!!! 8 million kinda sorta!!!” euphoria is over, we are coming to find out how ObamaCare actually delivers care. This story will be the first of many.