Tag: reimbursement rates

How The Affordable Care Act Will Affect Doctors

Just over two years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a law purported to increase access to health care and to “bend down” the health care cost curve. A great debate over the implications of that law, especially in the areas of coverage, affordability, and quality of care, has arisen. Furthermore, a series of political and legal challenges have generated uncertainty about the law’s prospects within the health industry and at the state level. Despite this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already issued over 12,000 pages of regulations elaborating on the original 2,700-page law, leading to more uncertainty regarding how appointed and career federal officials will determine the exact shape of the law’s final requirements. All of this uncertainty raises real concerns about how the new law will impact the most crucial actors in any health care reform effort: doctors.

Doctors are demonstrably nervous about the new law and how it will affect their incomes, their access to technologies, and their professional autonomy. According to a survey by the Doctors Company, 60 percent of physicians are concerned that the new law will negatively impact patient care. Only 22 percent are optimistic about the law’s impact on patient care. Fifty-one percent feel that the law will negatively impact their relationships with patients. These statistics raise questions about how and whether doctors will participate in the new system.

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Patients Rating Doctors: Let’s Pay Popular People More!

My patient only had 20 minutes to wait for the van headed to detox. The people who had worked to get him into a detox program already numbered in the double digits. Sam (not his real name) was the classic public inebriate — he woke on sidewalks with the shakes, vomited blood on a regular basis, had lost most of his teeth, and was such a frequent victim of head trauma that depressions and scars ridged his balding skull.

Over the last week, our substance abuse counselor had daisy-chained together an impressive series of phone calls, blood tests, and clearance forms to line him up for one of our rarely-available detox beds.

Only 20 minutes to go.

But it was 20 minutes too long for him.

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