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ObamaCare Driving Away Doctors?

Negative signs abound for the medical community today, as the House Oversight Committee prepares to hear testimony on the impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients. First, there’s the recent Doctor Patient Medical Association poll, which found 90 percent of doctors say the medical system is on the wrong track and 83 percent are thinking about quitting (h/t Daily Caller):

KEY FINDINGS

  • 90% say the medical system is on the WRONG TRACK
  • 83% say they are thinking about QUITTING
  • 61% say the system challenges their ETHICS
  • 85% say the patient-physician relationship is in a TAILSPIN
  • 65% say GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT is most to blame for current problems
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE
  • 57% give the AMA a FAILING GRADE representing them
  • 1 out of 3 doctors is HESITANT to voice an opinion
  • 2 out of 3 say they are JUST SQUEAKING BY OR IN THE RED financially
  • 95% say private practice is losing out to CORPORATE MEDICINE
  • 80% say DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS are most likely to help solve things
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix.

Previous surveys by other pollsters have also found dissatisfaction with ObamaCare among doctors, but not to the extent found in the DPMA poll. This could be because the survey sample was self-selected — only 4.3 percent of doctors contacted actually responded to the questions. That said, the poll is pretty useful for the open-ended answers from respondents, which are published on the website.

Not that it would come as a surprise if ObamaCare was becoming less popular with doctors. Even medical industry leaders who outwardly support the health care law have started raising alarms about its implementation. Health care executives warned again yesterday that it could lead to doctor shortages, a concern many conservatives have also raised:

“There are many unknowns, given the complexities of the act,” said Chester “Chet” Burrell, president and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “There could be surprises and unintended effects because of the complexity. All of the regulations are still not out yet and so it’s hard to know how it will work out in the final analysis.”

Burrell was joined Monday by Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Health System, and Robert A. Chrencik, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, in talking about reform during a session with members of the Greater Baltimore Committee. …

But the executives, who will be responsible for the law’s implementation at their organizations, said they are concerned about costs and whether there will be enough doctors to treat millions of new patients. It remains unclear what the standard insurance plan will look like under reform and how the exchanges will work.  …

“We are on the one hand pleased the federal government is going to provide a substantial opportunity for states, including this one, to expand the Medicaid program,” Peterson said. “But nevertheless the underlying budget is already huge and then there will be that additional pressure. It is a concern.”

Add that to other troubling stories — like yesterday’s AP report on how the number of Texas doctors accepting Medicaid has plummeted since 2010 — and it’s clear the health care law is going to put significant strain on the medical community. ObamaCare will flood an already-overextended industry with a deluge of new Medicare patients and newly-insured people.



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