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May 29, 2014 at 9:10 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Do Doctors Think About Obamacare?

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

Well, it's been four months since the rubber hit the road on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Most of this time has spanned post deadline. Over the past months we've seen the website crash and dates pushed back. Politicians and news commentators have weighed in on the success or failure of this monumental undertaking. What about the physician offices across the country, though, who take care of patients' healthcare needs on a day-to-day basis? How has it been going in the trenches?

What is being said on a national scale?

Now that we are 120 days out from the public go date for Obamacare the data is coming in. In a large survey of healthcare providers by the Medical Group Management Association, over 40,000 surveys gave perspective to the current impression on Obamacare. Of those surveyed, 94% had seen patients who got insurance through the website. One in four have had increased numbers of patients since January 1. The biggest problems sited were high deductibles and patients' poor knowledge of their coverage. Part of this includes significant restrictions on just who patients can be referred to (narrow provider networks). 

In all, no major objections have arisen from the medical community. For the most part, these complaints are much the same as pre-Obamacare.

What does this doctor think?

I have talked with a number of patients about their experience under the Affordable Care Act.  For me, personally, there has been little change when it comes to taking care of my patients and making a living. For my patients, however, the positive stories stand out. Sure, people have had some inconvenience figuring their policies out and navigating through a foreign system.  Seeing patients, however, who now have access to health care who can now afford insurance has been satisfying. Uniformly, patients who needed help got help. Many were very surprised that the help in getting them insurance that they could afford was so generous. Overall, it gets a "thumbs up."

Most of us in the field of medicine hold our breaths because of the unknown entities of Obamacare that await us around the corners. This big thing continues to unfold and evolve and we can only hope for the best. For some, hope is completely intangible and the lack of control is uncomfortable. For others, it is what it is. 

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