Doctors prepare for influx of patients after healthcare law upheld

TULSA, Okla. - About 17-percent of Oklahomans are uninsured  and soon thousands of them may be looking for doctors.

2NEWS spoke with doctors at OU-Tulsa after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's Health Care law. Now, they're preparing for an influx of patients.

Politics aside, doctors we spoke with say the law will likely be the catalyst for better health care. But with a physician shortage in Oklahoma already, they say the need for more doctors will continue to grow.

The new health care law could mean more than 30 million Americans will flood the healthcare system. And there aren't enough primary care doctors to keep up.

"It really is a re-engineering of the entire healthcare system," said Dr. Gerard Clancy, the President of OU-Tulsa.

"And now, the question is, can the health care system absorb that many uninsured individuals, who will be seeking out primary care?" he said.

More than 600,000 Oklahomans are uninsured. Dr. Clancy doesn't expect all of them to pick up a health insurance plan.

"If we can put all of these systems in place, and we can still keep healthcare affordable, yes it would be good. Because more people would be getting care. Right now we've got a lot of people on the sidelines who aren't getting care," Dr. Clancy said.

Dr. John Schumann is an Associate Professor of Medicine. He's training more than 50 doctors right now.

"I'm happy with the turnout in the fact that they upheld the law, because I think it's really going to give a chance for people who really don't have insurance to be able to get health care. I think that's really the fundamental thing," Dr. Schumann said.

He says these changes won't happen overnight.

"You know I think the day to day impact right now, won't really be seen until 2014 when I think the vast expansion of Medicaid goes into affect. So I think for now, there's going to be a lot of politicking back and forth about repeal versus not repealing," Dr. Schumann said.

Doctors expect health care positions from physician assistants, to nurses and pharmacists to be in even higher demand over the next few years.

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