Editor's note: We work hard to write about issues that will help physicians run their practices in a manner that is both prosperous and efficient, while still delivering quality patient care. And we are delighted when our readers let us know what they are thinking. This month we are excerpting an article by managing editor Gabriel Perna on physician frustrations with the current state of healthcare and the perceived failings of the Affordable Care Act. The article has been edited for space and is followed by comments made by readers at PhysiciansPractice.com.
Physicians are Frustrated with the Affordable Care Act
In an election year it's not uncommon to hear candidates talking about the differences between the present time and four years ago. When it comes to the Affordable Care Act and how physicians' view it, four years can make a world of difference. In 2012, 54 percent of physician respondents to Physicians Practice's Great American Physician (GAP) Survey said they supported the health reform law, 29.3 percent said they didn't support it but thought there were a few good things about it, and only 16 percent said they were strongly opposed to it.
Jump ahead to the 2016 GAP Survey and 47 percent of respondents say the ACA has done a great disservice to Americans. Forty-five percent take the middle ground saying, "I think it's mostly good, but not all good," and only 7.5 percent of respondents say, "I think it has been great for Americans." Nearly half of survey respondents (45 percent) say they'd like the next president to repeal and/or replace the ACA upon taking office.
Jordan writes: Everyone seems to forget that BCBS used to be the "public option." I'm in New York and Empire BCBS was the best insurance. Then, in 2004 Gov. Pataki (R) made a deal with Empire to let them go for-profit and no longer be state subsidized. The payoff was $2 billion. Immediately Empire doubled its rates year over year until they were the highest priced insurance in New York. The rates they pay doctors have gone from $35 in 1980 with no copay for an indemnity plan to $55 in 2016 including the $20 copay for a PPO plan. If you are keeping score that means Empire has charged hundreds of times more for the insurance but paid the exact same amount.
… ACA is not perfect, in fact it's pretty bad, but the biggest reason it isn't working the way it should is that there is ZERO competition for the big insurance carriers, you know, the "too big to care" people. They persuaded Congressional Republicans to force the removal of the public option. So now all there is is "Big Insurance" vs. "Big Insurance" and they don't care how much profit they pull. Even with limits to profits they maneuver money into "consulting" expenses and other shady tax scams and then use the money for bonuses.