Long-term Diagnosis for Health Reform Not Promising, Survey Says

July 16, 2010
Keith L. Martin

Just months old, new federal health reform still has that “new legislation shine,” but it seems some of your peers doubt that luster will last.

Just months old, new federal health reform still has that “new legislation shine,” but it seems some of your peers doubt that luster will last.

According to a new poll of primary-care clinicians by Boston-based Pri-Med, an educational content provider for the medical industry, 55 percent of those surveyed indicated that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not improve conditions in the health care arena in the long term. Furthermore, 58 percent did not even believe the new legislation would improve conditions in the short term.

|On the bright side, of the 1,527 primary-care respondents surveyed earlier this year, 42 percent said the most important outcome of federal health reform was ensuring healthcare coverage to more individuals and 26 percent said the upside was ending coverage barriers for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

But those polled also saw negative consequences to the legislation. Expansion of the government’s control over medicine topped the list, with 39 percent of respondents, followed by 28 percent who said the new law fails to immediately address medical malpractice reform.

In a statement provided by Pri-Med, Allan H. Goroll, MD, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said the data demonstrates “the persistent skepticism” among physicians that reform will have on their practice’s environment.

“These views are not surprising given that most of the law dealing with payment and practice reform is confined to piloting, even though there is a temporary 10 percent increase in Medicare reimbursement,” Goroll said. “Only when they see piloting translated into fundamental practice and payment reform are physicians’ attitudes likely to change.”

So it seems your diagnosis is grim for federal health reform until you see some evidence of help in your day-to-day operations, if you subscribe to Goroll’s thinking. It would be nice if Washington, D.C., threw you a bone on Medicare reimbursement cuts, helped you from being potentially sued by patients and while they are at it, maybe even pitched in a bit on dealing with insurance companies.

So what will it take for health reform to get a passing grade in your opinion? Weigh in below and let us know.