Doctors Not Excited About Affordable Care Act

Ask the professionals in the middle of federal health care reform their opinions about the future impacts and the answers are downright scary. In a new survey, doctors fear both short-term and long-term declines in the quality of care, while costs will only continue to increase. The National Center for Policy Analysis concludes:

America’s doctors have conducted a full examination of the president’s health reform law, assessing it in a number of variables, and have concluded that it will fail to live up to many expectations and will aggregately hurt consumers in the short and long runs.  Few people know more about the health care system than doctors working on the frontlines.

Policymakers should pay heed to their indictment of the Affordable Care Act and revisit the disastrous law, says Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.

• Nearly two-thirds of doctors expect the quality of care in this country to decline, according to a new survey from Deloitte.
• Nearly seven of every 10 doctors believe that medicine is no longer attractive to America’s "best and brightest."
• Seventy percent of doctors believe that long wait times will plague emergency rooms.
• Further, 83 percent of physicians foresee increased wait times for primary care appointments.

And doctors did not stop at criticizing the quality of care that health reform will deliver — they also addressed its likely impacts on the cost of health care.

• While Obama pledged $2,500 in health insurance savings for the typical American family, 90 percent of doctors believe that insurers will raise premiums for employers and individuals.
• This argument is supported by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimates that premiums will actually rise for families in the non-group market by about $2,100.
• Richard Foster, the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, concluded that American spending on health care through 2019 will be $311 billion higher than if the law had never passed.

Many of these results stem from two large impacts of the law: shutting down health care facilities and sharply increasing demand as it extends coverage to millions of people.  Doctors respond to this latter "benefit" by pointing out that coverage counts for little if patients are unable to see doctors due to increased demand.