November 14, 2012

67% of Physicians are Weary that Obamacare May Not be Good for the Future of Healthcare in America

The Physicians Foundation recently conducted the largest survey of physicians in the U.S. that helps gain insight into physicians' attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and their intentions as the ACA begins to roll out.

The study showed that the ACA leaves 61% of Michigan physicians and 67% of Florida physicians feeling less positive about the future of healthcare in the U.S. In contrast, 20% of Michigan physicians and 12% of Florida physicians say the ACA makes them feel more positive.

The biggest concern physicians have with the ACA is its effect on Medicare and Medicaid fees and the anticipated increase of patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The ACA intends on curing the healthcare dilemma by adding $1.9 trillion in additional health coverage while cutting $710 billion in Medicare fees over the next ten years. A University of Minnesota report suggests that Michigan's share of the Medicare fee-for-service reduction will be $22.3 billion, while Florida can expect to see a $44.3 billion cut from Medicare fees over the next ten years. For our healthcare clients in Michigan and Florida interested in knowing how the cuts might affect them, Oakland county's share will be an estimated $2.69 billion of the state's $22.3 billion reduction and Sarasota county's share will be an estimated $1.4 billion of the state's $44.3 billion cut.

What does this mean? Physicians can expect to see more patients for less. The Physicians Foundation survey showed 31% of Michigan physicians plan to add new limits or increase limits on accepting Medicare patients while 30% of Florida physicians plan to do the same. What's more problematic for the ACA is that 25% of Michigan physicians and 27% of Florida physicians plan to refuse accepting new Medicare patients.

Equally troublesome is that 15% of Michigan physicians and 21% of Florida physicians plan to increase fees on private insurance in order to compensate for the loss of income from Medicare. Of course, this will mean higher premiums for patients with private health insurance. Some analysts estimate that private insurance premiums will increase between 19-85%.

Now that we are certain that the Affordable Care Act is going to continue, its more important than ever that physicians and health professionals be aware of the changes the ACA brings over the next ten years and the impact it will likely have on the future of their practice and the healthcare industry.

Chapman and Associates, P.C. is dedicated to the defense of health professionals with such issues as medical malpractice, professional licensing, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, etc.

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