NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Doctors Skeptical About Future of U.S. Health System

April 2, 2013

As the health care system changes drastically over the next three years, more doctors than ever are planning on retiring. The retirements will occur as autonomy decreases under federal oversight and income falls under price controls.  A survey of 600 doctors finds that physicians are pessimistic about the future, says Everyday Health.

  • Six out of 10 physicians in the survey said that it is likely that many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.
  • The survey, which was conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, found that this perception is constant regardless of the respondent's age, gender and specialty.
  • Fifty-five percent of physicians surveyed believe that other doctors will reduce the number of hours they work because of the changes that are occurring in the health system.

Changes to the health care system under ObamaCare are forcing doctors to abandon their individual practices and instead become hourly employees of hospitals.

  • Between 2011 and 2012, four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased and more than half of that number said the pay cut was 10 percent or less.
  • Of the doctors who reported a decrease in pay, four in 10 blamed the Affordable Care Act and 48 percent believed their income would drop as a result of the ObamaCare mandate.
  • Roughly 66 percent of the survey participants believed that physicians and hospitals will become more integrated.

Since 2011 alone, more than 31 percent of the doctors in the survey had moved into a larger practice and nearly eight in 10 believe midlevel providers will become more prominent in providing primary care.

  • The survey also found that 26 percent of doctors believe Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula will be repealed in the next one to three years and one in 10 believe that medical liability reform will pass Congress in the next one to three years.
  • About 25 percent of physicians would place new or additional limits on accepting Medicare patients if there were payment changes.
  • Only 31 percent of respondents gave the U.S. health care system a grade of A or B, down from 35 percent in 2011.

Source: David Pittman, "More Docs Plan to Retire Early," Everyday Health, March 21, 2013.


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