HEALTH CARE Shortages fill current system

“If you build it, they will come” is a nice mantra for baseball diamonds, but we’re not sure it’s applicable for medical buildings and doctors.

There have been some nice new medical buildings constructed in southern Chautauqua County over the past few years — but it’s still pretty tough to get appointments to see a doctor. A problem that was an inconvenience before the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a real pain in the neck for many Chautauqua County families. Some appointments for those used to seeing their family doctor within a couple of days can now be looking at a couple of weeks or a trip to an Urgent Care facility. Rescheduling some appointments may result in a six-month wait.

It speaks to the ongoing need for additional practitioners in our area, particularly if Democrats end up being serious about passing the New York Health Act, a goal of longtime Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan and New York Health Act sponsor.

A 2018 independent analysis by the Rand Corporation indicated there would be unmet patient demand under a single-payer system in New York with longer wait times for appointments or providers not accepting new patients. The question Democrats — who have the votes to pass the New York Health Act — must answer is whether or not their fealty to single-payer health care is worth making it even more difficult to get into a doctor’s office in rural areas throughout the state.

Society can do health care better than it does right now — but part of the answer has to be making sure there are enough practitioners for people to see their doctors when they need them. The status quo is struggling to meet that need, but Democrats’ proposed replacement hasn’t shown it can meet that need either.

If the New York Health Act is going to be seriously considered in the upcoming legislative session, access to care must be a key part of the deliberations.


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