NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Half of America's Doctors Give Obamacare a Grade of D or F

October 21, 2014

The Physicians Foundation recently asked 20,000 American doctors to grade Obamacare. The results were not good for the president's signature law; almost half of those surveyed gave the Affordable Care Act a grade of D or F, while just 25 percent said the law deserved an A or a B.

Why? Jeffrey Singer, a physician and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, says that the law has disrupted patients' relationships with their doctors. He explains:

  • Many of his patients saw their insurance plans cancelled and were moved into new plans that did not include Singer in the network. Singer, a surgeon, notes that this forced some who were in the midst of a multi-stage surgery treatment to find new doctors to handle subsequent treatment.
  • Some patients were moved into Medicaid and still had access to Singer as a doctor. However, he notes that because so many doctors refuse to take Medicaid patients, coordinating with the patients' other doctors (primarily specialists) was difficult; many were located far away.

Singer describes how the law -- aimed at increasing access to care -- actually made access more difficult. Singer practices medicine in Arizona, one of the states that expanded Medicaid. One study indicates that up to 80 percent of those new Medicaid enrollees were merely transferred from private plans into the government's Medicaid plan. Access to doctors under Medicaid is poor, which results in many enrollees going to emergency rooms for treatment. Indeed, NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham recently blogged about Medicaid patients' trips to the ER because of this lack of access. Going to the emergency room rather than making a doctor's appointment, says Singer, means that many on Medicaid suffer health problems that go untreated.

Source: Jeffrey A. Singer, "Why Doctors Give Obamacare a Failing Grade," Cato Institute, October 15, 2014.


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