Are there enough health care providers to handle newly insured?

The Sacramento BeeMarch 23, 2010 

On the morning after Sunday's vote to revamp the health care system, Bob Caulk contemplated the enormous task of extending health care coverage to the nation's millions of uninsured.

Caulk, chief executive officer of The Effort, spoke enthusiastically about expanding his nonprofit chain of clinics, based in midtown Sacramento, into more places.

"We're going to be ready, and other clinics are trying to gear up," Caulk said. "The question is: Where are you going to put all these people in a system that's not yet designed to accommodate them?"

Across the country, as many as 32 million of the country's 46 million uninsured could soon have improved access to affordable health insurance — through government subsidies or by becoming eligible for Medicaid programs such as Medi-Cal.

Whether the system will be ready to receive them remains a significant unknown. The influx of new patients may strain the nation's supply of primary care physicians. But at the same time, it could ease the burden on county clinics and emergency rooms, which currently provide care to those who lack insurance. Community clinics like The Effort could step up to serve more people.

Physicians groups have raised concerns about whether there will be enough primary care doctors to serve all the new subscribers.

To read the complete article, visit

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service