Friday, November 12, 2010

Effect of Obamacare on Doctors

Preface: Doctors have been asking me for a down and dirty summary of how the health reform law will effect them. This request is beyond my pay grade. However, I did run across a comprehensive summary of what the investor world thinks the health reform impact will be. Lisa Cummings, a former executive at Dell and Walmart has done my work by summarizing the effect in (November 9, 2010).

Here is her summary and her references.

• With the increase of covered patients, there will be a shortage of 150,000 doctors. Doctors are already overworked. Patients will have to wait longer to can get an appointment to see the doctor.

• Starting in 2011, Medicare reimbursements will be reduced. Medicare already reimburses doctors at an amount equal to only 81% of private payments.

• Between 18 to 20 million new Medicaid patients will flow to doctors. Medicaid coverage pays doctors 56% of the private payment amounts. Federal funding will pay for parity to Medicare for 2013 and 2014, and then it is up to the states to figure out how to pay the Medicaid doctors.

• Doctors will face more federal agencies, boards, and commissions, including the Independent Payment Advisory Board in 2012, a nonprofit Outcomes Research Institute, and the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative.

• 59% of doctors think the quality of medicine will decline in the next five years and 79% are less optimistic about the future of medicine. 69% are thinking about dropping out of government health programs, 53% would consider opting out of treating insurance-covered patients, and 45% have considered leaving the profession altogether.

Her References

1. Heritage Foundation, “Impact on Doctors," Web Memo, #2895, May 11, 2010

2. Susan Sataline and Shirley Wang, “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up,” Wall Street Journal, April 12. 2010

3. Terry Jones, “45% of Doctors Would Consider Quitting if Congress Passes Health Reform, “Investors Business Daily, September 15, 2009


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