What if everybody had health insurance, but nobody got to see a doctor?
In some parts of California, a doctor shortage is leading to a "game of chicken" over the country's new healthcare laws, according to the San Jose Mercury News: a standoff between medical providers and insurance companies.
Doctors are "upset" about the new, lower reimbursement rates they're getting from insurance companies who are instructed to keep their Covered California premiums low, the newspaper reported.
If current trends hold, doctors, who will be in short supply, will tell insurance companies offering lower reimbursement rates that they are too busy to take new patients, the newspaper reported.
This has already happened on a small scale, but if even more patients are accepted and doctors are in even shorter supply, "many doctors will be able to tell the insurers: 'Wait a second. You delivered us a promise, and I'm busier than ever, and you need me. But I don't need to agree to a discount anymore,'" according to the newspaper.
Some large insurance companies have already "broken down" and agreed to offer doctors the older, higher rates, the newspaper reported.