Affordable Care Act Survival Guide for Physicians

March 31, 2013

If you are looking for a better understanding of healthcare reform, I recommend a new book by Nick Tate that explains its impact on physicians and patients.

Browsing the local Barnes & Noble is normally where I go to get away from health law. It is right next to the post office and I can drop of my work and then go to Italy for five minutes before the weight of my to-do list pulls me back.

On this trip, my eyes focused immediately on the stacks of the newly released, "ObamaCare Survival Guide, The Affordable Care Act and What it Means for You and Your Healthcare," by Nick J. Tate. It is 200 pages and if formatted like the popular "Idiot’s Guide to Home Repair."

It is actually quite good. Chapters include: "Chapter 3: ObamaCare: a Multiyear Timetable," "Chapter 4: Health Insurance: Radical Changes Ahead," and "Chapter 5: The Individual Mandate." Then there is Chapter 6, on the expansion of Medicaid which explains in 13 pages the current Medicaid landscape, how ObamaCare levels the playing field, how expansion will affect each state differently and who pays for it. The next chapters explain health insurance exchanges, incentives for small businesses, then the fun starts.

Part III, "Costs Will Bend Up, Not Down," provides analysis, which admittedly is opinion, covering the more controversial aspects of ObamaCare in a fairly even-handed manner. In this section, Tate describes why the insurance industry supported ObamaCare, the greatest weakness of ObamaCare and my personal favorite: Chapter 10: "Turning the Screws on Medicare." Chapter 11 covers the "experiments": bundled payments, hospital readmission, accountable care organizations, and Home Health Independence.

Part IV attempts to take over my job by explaining "ObamaCare: The Fine Print." This section includes "No Co-Pays for Preventative Services," "Employer-Based Wellness Programs," long-term care programs such as CLASS, and restrictions on physician-owned hospitals.

Part IV - Looking Ahead - offers real practical advice in sections entitled, "Don’t Pay the Individual Mandate Penalty Unless You Have To," "Check Your Eligibility for Medicaid," and "If You are a High Earner, Talk to Your Accountant."

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. And it is only $19.95. With over 500 provisions and 2,700 pages, it is practically impossible to digest and retain the contents of the law. Tate breaks this down for us, together with analysis. Not only will it help physicians understand the new law, it will also allow physicians to direct patients to an easily understandable resource. A four-minute interview with the author about this great resource is also available.