Universal Coverage, But No Physicians?

From White Coat’s Call Room:

First, in the article “Forget good; any doctor is hard to find,” a mother laments because she has to drive all over the Coachella Valley in California to find a doctor to evaluate her 2 year old child with a cough. After going to four different providers, she finally went to the emergency department and was seen by a PA because “a good doctor is hard to find.”

I sympathize with her, but if you read the article, it wasn’t that she couldn’t find a physician to see her child (although a couple of the clinics she went to didn’t see children under 3 years old). The problem was that the physicians that *were* available didn’t take her insurance and she didn’t want to pay out of pocket. The article did not say what type of insurance she had, but my guess is that the insurance was MediCal. Given the low payments MediCal makes to physicians, fewer and fewer physicians are willing to accept it. This mother’s ordeal just highlights the fact that universal coverage doesn’t mean much if no one takes your insurance. Kind of like having $10,000 worth of Japanese yen in your pocket and trying to buy a hoagie in downtown Pittsburgh with them.

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