In Survey, 46 Percent of Doctors Give Low Grades to Obamacare



More than four years after becoming law, Obamacare is getting low marks from many doctors.

In a survey by the Physician's Foundation that was emailed to physicians in the American Medical Association's database, almost half of doctors—46 percent—gave the federal health law a "D" or an "F." Only a quarter of the physicians who responded gave the program an "A" or a "B" grade.

About 20,000 doctors responded to the survey. 

Obamacare wasn't the only federal health policy to score poorly with doctors in the survey. About 85 percent said they have implemented an electronic medical records system, but 46 percent say it has "detracted from their efficiency" while only 24 percent say it has made them more efficient. The 2009 stimulus included some $20 billion in incentive funding meant to encourage health providers to install electronic health records systems. 

More than a third of the doctors in the survey—38 percent— say they have either limited the number of Medicaid patients they see or stopped seeing Medicaid patients entirely. Medicaid pays significantly lower rates to providers than other types of health coverage. 

Half of the physicians who responded said they believe that the implementation of ICD-10, the complex new federally mandated medical coding system, will "cause severe administrative problems in their practices." 

A little more than a quarter of doctors in the survey are now involved in coordinate care programs like the Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) set up under Obamacare, but just 13 percent say they think ACOs will "enhance quality and decrease costs." 

Some of this, no doubt, is just health providers not wanting to adjust their ways or give up autonomy. And some of it is the inevitable selection bias you get from an opt-in survey like this. But I suspect that there's more going on here than just doctors grumbling about change. What you see, fairly consistently, in these responses, is not just a lack of enthusiasm or a personal dislike for the way health policy is going, but a belief amongst a lot of doctors that recent policy changes won't work, and a sense that health care providers have been left out of the reform process.  

(Via Phil Klein at The Washington Examiner.)