A recent survey by top research firm Deloitte Center for Health Solutions finds that 6 in 10 physicians say in the next 1 to 3 years, many doctors will retire earlier than planned because of the implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, better known as Obamacare. Doctors are abandoning their profession and their patients because Obamacare means they are losing control of their clinics and compensation.
Bob Unruh reports for WND that Dr. Jane Orient, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, told WND that doctors already have started leaving the profession through early retirement. Among those who remain, some will seek alternatives to what they see coming in the federal government’s takeover of health care.
“I think it’s a disaster for patients,” she said. “They may lose the doctor they relied on all their lives.”
The survey by Deloitte found that the “future of the medical profession may be in jeopardy as it loses clinical autonomy and compensation.”
Further, it found the health insurance exchanges required by Obamacare this year probably won’t be reality. Many doctors are starting to limit their participation in Medicaid and Medicare because of low reimbursement rates. Some doctors even close off their practices to such patients.
Dr. Orient confirmed that many doctors are unable to continue a private practice because of increasing government demands and intervention, which “amounts to busy work.” Those physicians will end up working for a corporation hospital where the profits are distributed to shareholders. Such scenarios often end up giving the feeling of an assembly line, where a patient sees a doctor briefly, is given a diagnosis and shown the door.
She said doctors in that system will be punished if they spend too much time on a patient, or possibly if they provide too much treatment. The frustration that comes from such scenarios actually is creating the incentive for a counter-trend in which doctors cut ties to the behemoth insurance companies and simply charge a fee to patients.
The survey found physicians are pessimistic about the future of medicine. “The majority worry about the profession’s erosion of clinical autonomy and income, and its inability to achieve medical liability reform.”
While many doctors are satisfied with practicing medicine, most of their satisfaction is in their interaction with patients. But nearly one in four said that even now they are not allowed to spend enough time with each patient. And one in five was distressed by the developing government regulations.
The Deloitte report paints a bleak picture of how U.S. doctors regard the future of their profession:
- Nearly three-quarters of physicians (higher among surgical specialists at 81%) think the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine. That’s an increase of 12% from the 69% of had thought so just two years ago, in 2011.
- More than half surveyed believe physicians will retire (62%) or scale back practice hours (55%) due to how their profession is changing.
- 4 in 10 physicians had reductions in their take-home pay from 2011 to 2012. Of those, 4 in 10 believe their reduced pay was a result of Obamacare.
- Fully half expect their incomes to “fall dramatically in the next one to three years.”
- Overall, doctors are critical of the U.S. health care system, blaming problems on a defensive mode that influences treatment and results.
- Only 2 in 10 doctors believe the Obamacare government exchanges will be ready to go.
- 25% say they’ll limit their work on Medicare patients if the government funding program continues as it is.
- Most doctors believe unhealthy lifestyles influence the health care system costs. (Duh!)
America, meet your new primary care physician!
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.