The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Are patients disappearing?

Mickey’s Assignment Desk: A New York doctor friend of mine says patient visits have fallen dramatically — people stopped coming in after January 1, 2014. He and his colleagues are trying to figure out why. Hard to believe it doesn’t have something to do with Obamacare! … It could be a good thing –higher co-payments cause people to avoid unnecessary visits, the health cost curve starts bending, etc. (assuming the docs don’t just raise their fees to make up the difference). … It could be a bad thing, if the patients guess wrong about which visits are unnecessary. … It’s almost certainly a bad thing if the cause is patients who’ve lost their insurance. … Further journalistic investigation required. … Remember: If there is some new trend, you’ll hear it first in gossip from friends and random people you run into.  The academics will be the last to know.  The first people who knew about the “Gran Salida” of immigrants back to Mexico were schoolteachers facing empty classrooms. It took Pew researchers years to acknowledge the trend. …

P.S.: If you have direct knowledge of any similar drop (or increase) in patient visits, please contribute to the comments section. Thanks. …

P.P.S.: It’s also possible, as suggested by Comrade Arthur, that my friend is an expensive doctor and his patients have been steered, by their insurance policies, to cheaper doctors or clinics. …