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    ACA earns higher scores with physicians

    Doctors’ satisfaction increases after initial healthcare exchange enrollment period

    Physicians are feeling more positive about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this year compared with 2013, according to a new survey by the Medicus Firm.

    More physicians give healthcare reform an “A” overall—8.6% this year compared with 6.3% last year. Also, fewer physicians see the ACA as a failure. About 30% graded the ACA with an “F” in 2013, compared with 22% in 2014.

    More than 2,200 physicians in 19 specialties from all 50 states answered detailed questions about the ACA, grading on an A through F scale.

    When it comes to improving access to healthcare, 23% of physicians gave the ACA an “A” and 27% gave it a “B.” Nearly 14% of physicians said the ACA failed at improving access to healthcare—24% of physicians gave the ACA an F in that category last year. Only 7% of physicians gave the ACA an “A” for improving efficiency of healthcare, while nearly 30% say the ACA is failing in that area.

    The survey took place several months after the launch of the healthcare exchanges in October 2013. Analysts have questioned how the ACA would affect physicians since its inception four years ago. There have been positives, including more patients with insurance coverage and mandatory coverage of preventive health screenings, which ultimately brings more people into practices. However, an increase in the number of patients purchasing high-deductible plans and the possibility of new patients overwhelming already busy practices. Also, the 90-day grace periods mandated with new health plans could cause practice owners to have to collect payments from patients who don’t pay their premiums.

    Jim Stone, president of the Medicus Firm, says that it is important to report the physicians’ point of view because the law has been implemented over the past few years with little input from the practitioner community.

    “The ACA has been a game changer for many physicians' careers,” Stone says. “Not only are their careers and daily lives significantly impacted by this law, physicians are also on the front lines, seeing the effects of the ACA on patients, physicians and the healthcare industry, for better or for worse.”

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