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    Obamacare receives a big, fat 'F' from physicians

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a lightning rod for criticism from various healthcare stakeholders, including physicians, since the law’s passage six years ago.

    With the upcoming presidential election likely to alter the landscape of “Obamacare”—from simple tweaks by Democrats to outright attempted repeal by Republicans—Medical Economics asked healthcare policy experts and our readers to debate the law’s effect on U.S. physicians.

     

    Related: I'm a Democrat physician and I'm voting for Trump

     

    Our editorial staff, with the assistance of our physician advisers, selected eight provisions and consequences (both intentional and unintentional) stemming from the law.  Policy analysts provided their thoughts on how Obamacare has shaped the last six years. Then we  asked physicians from our editorial advisory board, our 200-member Reader Reactor Panel (comprised of physician readers nationwide who help direct our content), and our e-newsletter subscribers to grade the various elements based on their own experiences.  Each physician ranked each element in terms of how it assisted their day-to-day work as physicians on a score from 0 (not at all) to 10 (extremely helpful). The average of all respondents was used to derive the letter grade. Physicians also offered short justifications for their ranking.

     

    Analysis

    This program was necessitated by the growing numbers  of  primary care physicians who were closing their practices to Medicare patients, due to the many challenges of meeting Medicare rules and regulations, according to Mark Rust, JD, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and past chair of his firm’s National Healthcare Department in Chicago, Illinois. 

    Physicians were “dropping the program if they could get away with it, and if they couldn’t, [making] shorter visits to try and keep their heads above water with the level of payments they were getting and concomitant administrative demands made by Medicare,” he says.

    There’s also a subtle professional rivalry between specialists and primary care physicians, says Anthony Lo Sasso, PhD, professor of health policy and administration at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “Specialists doing the invasive, more costly, higher-reimbursement treatments would say these are very skill-based [services], but primary care says, ‘well, we’re trying to change their behavior, prevent them from having angioplasty or what have you, so maybe that’s more valuable.’”

    Next: Medicaid-Medicare parity graded

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    • [email protected]
      This article has me near-apoplectic. I (and other like-minded physicians) was all but screaming from the top of my lungs (and in some cases doing that) the horrific impact awaiting us, our patients and our society should the ACA (aka, ObamaCare) become law, way back in 2008 (before it was called the ACA). Post after post on this and other forums were full of physician support for this atrocity and NOW that we are reaping the rotten, festering, fulminantly pustulating chancre that is its fruit I finally see physicians realizing this was a bad idea. C'mon folks! You are all reasonably intelligent people. Are you seriously telling me you did not see this coming?! Please tell me, those of you who at ANY point had even the slightest sympathy for this plan, in the name of all that is good and holy, what exactly was it that caused you to take utter leave of your common sense and rationality? Please tell me you were stricken by wishful thinking in the midst of blinding, compassionate desire for there to be a way, any way at all, for all of our patients, regardless their situation, to have the most expensive care possible and never have to be concerned really how the expense is covered? Please do not tell me something like, "it sounded like a good idea at the time!" No more than a cursory understanding of simple "lemonade stand" economics was required to uncover the comedy of erroneous assumptions necessary to have made this farce seem even remotely sustainable, let alone helpful. One of the simplest lessons being, until most Americans are willing to work for FREE, there is no such thing as a free lunch! I for one hope that if we can survive this era with anything short of a single-payer, government-owned, communist-esque healthcare system that we might be fortunate enough to learn from this immeasurably costly mistake.

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