Doctor shortage slows Massachusetts health reform

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Making sure uninsured citizens get health coverage sounds good--but it won't work if physicians aren't on board. And it looks like that's a real hurdle for Commonwealth Care, the new insurance-for-all plan offered by the state of Massachusetts.

Primary care physicians aren't thrilled with the requirements for participating in Commonwealth Care products, which include making sure a patient has a first appointment within 45 days and is seen within 48 hours for urgent-care issues.  Not only that, physicians are complaining about Commonwealth care reimbursement levels, which are comparable to rates paid by state Medicaid program Mass Health. So with few primary care physicians participating, many Commonwealth Care patients are waiting weeks or even months to find practices who will see them--even to refer them to specialists.

To get more information on the shortage:
- read this Cape Cod Times piece

Related article:
Shortage of primary care docs in Massachusetts.  Report