- Posted June 29, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
For Sale: Doctor's Office
Even before Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, medical practitioners across the country have been debating whether they will be able to afford to stay in business.
This is not good news as the ACA relies heavily on the availability and utilization of General Practitioners (GPs) and Prmary Care Physicians (PCPs) to implement many of the act's provisions. On March 25th I wrote about the problem with the lack of GPs and PCPs in this report: Even if Upheld - There's a Problem Waiting for ACA.
Now CNN Money is reporting:
Doctors, especially those operating private practices, said their financial hardship is increasing, making it "harder for them to earn a decent living," according to a new survey of 673 physicians across 29 specialties by MDLinx, a medical reference website for physicians.
Among the reasons doctors cited: significant school debt, rising business expenses and administrative hassles, shrinking insurance reimbursements and costly malpractice insurance.
The survey revealed that doctors operating private practices -- both small and large -- are feeling more financial pain than those employed by hospitals, said Stephen Smith, chief marketing officer for MDLinx.
In fact, 17% of all doctors with a private practice said they could foresee closing it within a year if their financial situation doesn't improve, the survey said.
"For consumers, the coming retraction from small practices to large clinics that this survey hints at would mean longer drives and less personal, higher cost of medical care for millions of Americans," said Smith.
he survey showed that health reform also remains a hot topic for doctors, with some cheering reform and others lambasting it.
"I support Obamacare completely in theory," one doctor wrote in an anonymous comment in the survey.
"I feel strongly that we need a single payer to compete with insurance companies. [Still] I think the relative lack of physicians in the decision-making entities is a major problem for fixing health care."
"If Obamacare continues, I will leave the field of medicine!," another doctor said.
Yet another physician wrote: "The current state of finances for doctors is getting worse and will continue if Obamacare is not changed."
From the Cornfield, what will happen in healthcare if doctors do start selling out or closing shop leaving many in small town America without local doctors?
Many doctors have already stopped accepting new Medicare and Medicaid patients.
How will this bode for healthcare and for patients if there are fewer and fewer physicians?
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