Why Physicians Oppose The Health Care Reform Bill
side note: Well this article is alarming, and it reflects a number of physicians who I’ve talked with concerning the health care bill just passed by the Federal Government. They feel that their interests were not taken into account when the details of the bill were being hammered out. One of the biggest issues that Dr. Palestrant of SERMO has is that reasonable Tort Reform wasn’t added to the finalized version of the health care bill. We do agree with Dr. Palenstrant that the recent Medicare cuts for doctors, and what seems like an annual increase in medical malpractice insurance rates for physicians, will cause headaches for some. With that being said, this bill was passed, and now we need to move forward and figure out what’s best for doctors, patients and the health care industry as a whole. One thing is for sure, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Congress tinkering with the health care system.
by Daniel Palestrant (OP/ED)
Daniel Palestrant, MD, is founder and chief executive officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based Sermo, the largest online physician community, where more than 112,000 physicians collaborate to improve patient care.
After the debate has ended and the lobbyists have moved on to their next clients, health care will be left the way it started, a physician and a patient sitting in a room trying as best as they can to prolong health and forestall sickness. Fortunately the many victories and losses claimed by both ends of the political spectrum will not change this shared pursuit.
So then why has reform that promises to get millions more in a discourse with their doctors been so polarizing? Making sure more Americans have health insurance can only be a major victory, right? Too bad the medical establishment is not celebrating. In fact, the mood in those exams rooms is downright morose.
In tens of thousands of exam rooms all over the country physicians are struggling to make sense of the 2,000-plus pages of the reform bill. A recently released poll of more than 2,000 physicians, conducted by Athenahealth and Sermo, is alarming. The poll, part of a broader Physician Sentiment Index, indicates that 79% of physicians are less optimistic about medicine since the passage of health care reform. Fifty-three percent indicate they will consider opting out of insurance plans with passage of the bill. Worst of all, 66% indicate that they will consider opting out of all government-run programs. The same reform bill that will provide “care for all” may drive away more physician caregivers than attract previously uninsured patients. What a predicament that would be.