Physicians Are Pessimistic About Health Reform

Only 27 of doctors expect the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to reduce healthcare costs by increasing efficiency and only 33% expect it decrease disparities in healthcare access. In fact, half expect access to decrease because of hospital closures that result from the law, according to a study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Seventy-three percent of doctors are not excited about the future of medicine. Sixty-nine percent say that many of the best and brightest who might have considered a career in medicine will think otherwise.

Paul Keckley, Ph.D. of Deloitte said, “Physicians are resistant to reform and are frustrated with the direction of the profession. Understanding the view of the physician is fundamental to any attempt to change the health care model; this is the person prescribing the medicine, ordering the test and performing the surgery.” The negativity is driven in part by concern over the pressure primary doctors will face from millions of newly insured consumers seeking care and how it could affect the larger system. Doctors also fear that reform will mean a loss of autonomy and more costs and administrative burdens.

The study also reveals the following about doctors’ opinions:

  • Nearly three-quarters say that emergency rooms could get overwhelmed if primary care physician appointments are full as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • More than 80% say that wait times for primary care appointments are likely to increase because of a lack of providers.  More than half say that other medical professionals (physician assistants, nurse practitioners) will deliver primary care both independently and in addition to physician services.
  • 57% of surgical specialists support repealing the health reform law compared to 38% of primary-care providers and 34% of non-surgical specialists.
  • 59% of physicians 50 to 59 years old say that PPACA is a step in the wrong direction compared to only 36% of those ages 25 to 39 share this sentiment. Younger physicians (ages 25 to 39) are also more likely than older doctors (ages 40 to 59) to think the transition to evidence-based medicine will improve care.
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