The Affordable Care Act: Still unpopular with physicians after all these years.

ACAOne of the predictions we’ve heard about the admittedly controversial Affordable Care Act is that acceptance of it will grow over time, as people become more familiar and comfortable with its provisions.

So far at least, we haven’t seen this happening in the public polling about the law.

And now we’re seeing similar dynamics playing out in the all-important physician community.

In fact, the latest findings are that the ACA is more unpopular than ever, if the results of a new survey of physicians are to be believed.

The survey was conducted in January 2015 by LocumTenens, a physician staffing firm and online job board.

The headline finding must be this:  While ~44% of the survey respondents reported that they had been opposed to the Affordable Care Act legislation prior to its implementation, now ~58% are opposed to it after a year of working under the confines of the law.

R. Shane Jackson, president of LocumTenens, had this to say about the key finding:

“After a year in the trenches trying to help patients understand this legislation, physicians by and large feel the law hasn’t done a lot to help improve healthcare.”

More specifically, Jackson noted,

“Physicians feel the ACA has made serving patients and running their businesses much harder.  A year after implantation – and years after the political debate started – doctors are still passionate about how this law should have been designed, and would still like to see changes made that will make it simpler for their staffs and patients to understand.”

Among the negatives physicians see with the current ACA law are these aspects:

  • Lower reimbursement rates to hospitals and physicians
  • Increased compliance burdens for physician practices
  • Higher patient debt due to high-deductible plans

ACA healcare premium changesAlso faulted are the insurance companies for not doing more to inform newly insured patients about their premiums, deductibles and coverage limits.

It isn’t all poor marks for the ACA, however.  Physicians in the LocumTenens survey do credit the legislation for a number of positive outcomes including:

  • Helping more people gain access to healthcare
  • Expanding coverage to more children and young adults
  • Eliminating coverage denials due to pre-existing health conditions
  • Placing more focus on preventive healthcare measures
  • Decreasing the costs of end-of-life care

So what is the “net-net” on all of this?

Two-thirds of the physician respondents want the ACA law repealed (and three-fourths think it will be, incidentally).  But physicians want it replaced by something else that retains the positive aspects of the ACA while doing away with the negatives.

That’s the same message we’ve been hearing from politicians, too.  So the bigger question is how to unscramble the ACA egg … and whether anything actually better can come out of the effort.

Would anyone care to weigh in with their thoughts and ideas in this never-ending debate?

3 thoughts on “The Affordable Care Act: Still unpopular with physicians after all these years.

  1. My ability to even SEE my physician has been hindered by the AFC, and my health care decisions from choice of doctor to choosing to suffer and NOT seek treatment at all have not just been impacted by the AFC but have been dictated by it.

    With gastropatesis and a GJ feeding tube, it’s heartbreaking that I literally cannot afford the premiums on a plan that offers me any real healthcare options. With a six thousand dollar deductible, a monthly premium and 50% co-insurance on a disability income, the entire concept of affordable care is laughable to me.

    Physicians are by far not the only ones disgusted and impacted by the lack of positive and effective change this legislation has brought. As I lay here, sick in bed literally unable to afford to pick up the phone and go to doctor BECAUSE of all the “benefits” I have received under this legislation, I am simply at an absolute loss to understand who exactly is reaping the benefits. Sickening!

    Good article though. 👍

  2. Hmmm… “Rationing healthcare” seems to be what is happening.

    Really, what’s to like if you previously had health insurance?

    And “affordable?” Has it really stopped the big healthcare provider systems from raising fees/rates for those who have insurance?

  3. I have seen more benefits than negatives.

    I have been able to get and see my doctor quickly — no more triple-booking patients and getting in three hours after my scheduled appointment.

    The negatives still seem to be with what physicians and insurance companies see as acceptable charges. I broke a foot at the end of last year and my doctor could no longer set it; sent me to the ER (and they still sent me to an orthopedist) but my ER doc charges me $900 to tell me it was broken and refer me out to someone else.

    Three minutes, so that is $18,000/hour. That is the big problem. This needs to be controlled, and processes on how to move patients still need to be improved. As the ACA or a new system is implemented, this needs to be fixed.

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