Last updated on: 6/11/2015 2:29:48 PM PST
Do Physicians Support Obamacare? - DEBATED



PRO (yes)

Alice Chen, MD, practicing internal medicine hospitalist, and the Executive Director of Doctors for America, stated the following in her Mar. 25, 2015 article "5 Years of Progress: Time for Patients Over Politics," available at the Huffington Post website:

"This week, we celebrate five years of progress since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare or the ACA, was signed into law.

Beyond the headlines and politics, the law is changing America. Every day, we are moving closer to a country where we choose to take care of those who are sick no matter who they are...

Today, 16.4 million more people have health insurance. Hospitals and patients working together have prevented 150,000 readmissions to hospitals. Individuals and taxpayers have saved billions of dollars."




Douglas Kamerow, MD, family physician and Senior Scholar at the Robert Graham Center for Primary Care Policy Studies, stated the following during a Jan. 15, 2014 Intelligence Squared debate "Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue," available at the Intelligence Squared US website:

"[N]ot only is this law [Obamacare] not beyond rescue, it doesn't need to be rescued because the law already has worked and is working. And to understand whether it's working...

Young adults 26 and under now can get coverage on their parents' policies, and three million have. Preexisting conditions not allowed to prevent coverage. There's portability of insurance coverage, no lifetime caps, community rating, which means if you're in a small business, one person gets very sick or their family member does, it doesn't raise the rates for everybody. No lifetime caps on coverage, lots of stuff, and in some ways very importantly, no copays, no deductibles for preventive care that's evidence based...

Importantly, cost reforms have slowed down cost dramatically. That is, the increase per year is just an average of 1.1 percent in the past three years, 2010 to 2012. So in summary, before this year, before anything that's been controversial in the news happened, there are already a lot of good things that are going on because of Obamacare."




Mona Mangat, MD, practicing allergist and immunologist, stated the following in her Mar. 23, 2015 article "Celebrating 5 Years," available at the Doctors for America website:

"For years, opponents claimed nobody would sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They said people would not pay their premiums. They said there would be death panels, and that the law would kill jobs and be a disaster for our country. They were wrong.

Five years later, the sky hasn't fallen but the uninsured rate has – to record lows.

Today, 16.4 million Americans have new coverage and we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades. Millions of people no longer have to worry about being refused coverage or getting charged more for a pre-existing condition.

By every measurable standard the ACA is working and providing real and powerful change in people's lives!...

Together, we changed our Nation's healthcare system and got it working better for patients. We know there is still much work to be done to increase access and improve care but we are making real progress as a movement toward a better, healthier America."




Donald Nguyen, MD, practicing pediatric urologist, stated the following in his Mar. 23, 2015 article "Doctor: Affordable Care Act Has Saved Lives," available at the Cincinnati Enquirer website:

"On Monday, the Affordable Care Act turned 5 years old. As a result, non-overage of pre-existing conditions that discriminated against millions of Americans, while saving billions of dollars for insurance companies – gone. The annual and lifetime monetary caps on coverage that created medical catastrophes that bankrupted thousands of families are now gone, too.

Millions of dollars spent by seniors annually because of the dreaded 'doughnut hole' in prescription coverage will soon be gone – another harmful practice ended under the ACA.

The institution of the 80-20 rule, which resulted in millions of dollars being refunded to patients because some insurance companies did not spend enough of premium dollars on actual health care is a phenomenon never seen before the ACA. Because of Obamacare, millions of Medicare recipients and private insurance patients have benefited from preventive care and cancer screenings such as colonoscopy and mammograms, free of co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.

For all these reasons, the public has millions of reasons to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ACA."




Virginia L. Hood, MD, Immediate Past President of the American College of Physicians (ACP), in a Mar. 26, 2012 article, "The Present and Future of the Affordable Care Act," available at the ACP website, wrote:

"The American College of Physicians (ACP), representing 132,000 internal medicine specialists and medical student members, is pleased to report that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has resulted in major improvements in access and coverage for tens of millions of Americans seen by internal medicine physicians. Considering that it is just a little over two years since the ACA was enacted into law, and many of its programs are not yet fully effective, the ACA has had notable success in improving health insurance coverage. Looking to the future, the ACA will ensure that nearly all legal residents in the United States will have access to affordable coverage beginning in 2014—if the law is allowed to be fully implemented."




Jeremy Lazarus, MD, President of the American Medical Association (AMA), in a June 28, 2012 press release, "AMA: Supreme Court Decision Protects Much-Needed Health Insurance Coverage for Millions of Americans," available at the AMA website, stated:

"The American Medical Association has long supported health insurance coverage for all, and we are pleased that this decision [Supreme Court decision retaining most of Obamacare] means millions of Americans can look forward to the coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy.

The AMA remains committed to working on behalf of America's physicians and patients to ensure the law continues to be implemented in ways that support and incentivize better health outcomes and improve the nation's health care system."




American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), in a Mar. 16, 2011 statement to Congress, "Before the Senate Finance Committee Regarding Lessons Learned From a Year of Implementation of the Affordable Care Act," available at www.aafp.org, stated:

"The AAFP supported this legislation [Obamacare] for many reasons, not the least of which is its goal of achieving health coverage for nearly everyone in this country...

No one in this country should delay or forego needed care because of cost. Instead, we believe that the nation must:

Provide health care in the broadest sense rather than focusing only on sick care... Address the factors that drive up costs and lower quality... Build up the primary care physician workforce to meet the requirements of everyone who needs care.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already has made important strides toward achieving these bold and life-saving goals. It will expand insurance coverage by about 30 million people. Although this still falls short of coverage for everyone, the number of uninsured people will be reduced by more than half. It will encourage better health delivery models, emphasize the high value of primary care, support research and demonstrations of what works and what is needed, and it will help evaluate methods for controlling health care costs and improving health care quality."




CON (no)

Marc Siegel, MD, Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, stated the following in his Mar. 9, 2015 article "ObamaCare Stinks Even with Subsidies," available at nypost.com:

"Down here in the medical trenches, the harsh reality of the Affordable Care Act continues to play out.

My patients continue to report delays in signing up for ObamaCare policies and are rarely happy with what they end up with. They all have high deductibles and a narrow network of doctors to choose from... Here in New York, the law has put in jeopardy the entire way I practice as a primary-care physician. The law is so heavy with restrictions and penalties, and so light with actual improvements to care, that it isn't working well even with the subsidies...

I spend more than half of my time on any given day on computer documentation, pre-approvals, contesting billing errors by labs or hospitals and choosing unknown specialists from ObamaCare lists to refer patients to.

I see no evidence that the federal subsidies are going to pay for essential health care. Instead, they bolster rising premiums and help keep insurance companies solvent and profitable...

ObamaCare was falsely conceived. If Washington wanted to provide a health-care safety net for the have-nots, it could've hired the doctors and built the clinics to deliver it. Instead, it built another bloated, self-justifying bureaucracy that makes the insurance companies richer and the doctors and patients poorer."




Scott Gottlieb, MD, practicing physician and Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, stated the following during a Jan. 15, 2014 Intelligence Squared debate "Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue," available at the Intelligence Squared US website:

"When it comes to Obamacare most of the focus is on the broken website and the problems enrolling people into the coverage, but the real failures of this plan go well beyond the internet...

Obamacare seeks to lower the cost of health care, but instead it creates new arrangements that will only make medical care more expensive...

I don't consider it successful if the only way we reduce the roles of the uninsured in this country is by obligating more Americans to a Medicaid program that is quite literally worsening medical outcomes...

Obamacare makes so many costly promises on paper, but the only way to pay for these commitments is to reduce what providers are paid. And Obamacare, this is now a network that contains a very short list of providers and closed drug formularies that leave key medicines uncovered. And the Obamacare regulations don't just apply to the Obamacare plans. This is a federalization of all insurance in this country, so everyone's benefits need to conform to the single, uniform national standard. Obamacare was a response to a flawed healthcare system. There's no question about that. But it makes things worse."




Jeffrey A. Singer, MD, general surgeon and Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, stated the following in his Oct. 15, 2014 article "Why Doctors Give Obamacare a Failing Grade," available at thehill.com:

"Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients.

It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients' care...

Obamacare's assault on the doctor-patient relationship first manifested this time last year, when my patients began receiving cancellation letters indicating that their plans didn't meet the law's minimum requirements...

In their zeal to regulate and standardize health care, the law's authors empowered bureaucrats in Washington to drown doctors like me in a deluge of paperwork and reporting requirements.

This has only forced doctors like me to spend less time treating patients. Compared to when Obamacare was passed, I now spend roughly half my time on data entry and administrative work. I feel more like a data entry clerk than a doctor. Surely this time would be better spent in the treatment room or on the phone with patients conducting follow-ups.

I could keep going. Obamacare was passed on the promise that it would expand and improve medical care—indeed, that it would make quality health care universal. For too many of my patients, this promise has been broken. This is precisely why doctors disapprove of Obamacare by nearly a two to one margin. Until the law stops failing our patients, we won't stop giving it a failing grade."




Richard Amerling, MD, practicing nephrologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, stated the following in his Oct. 23, 2013 article "Obamacare: For Protection and Affordable Care, Opt Out!," available at the Christian Post website:

"There are compelling reasons for patients to opt out of Obamacare, Medicaid, and even Medicare. The most important reason is poor access to high quality physicians. Few of these currently accept Medicaid patients, and more each day are declining to accept new Medicare patients. A large element of the Obamacare strategy is to expand Medicaid to families with incomes well above the poverty line. A silver lining in the otherwise horrendous Roberts court decision upholding Obamacare is the ability of states to refuse to expand Medicaid, and a large number have taken advantage of this... 'Private' insurance policies available under the Obamacare exchanges will strongly resemble Medicaid, with limited options and poor physician participation. And unless you qualify for subsidies, the premiums will be very high, especially if you are relatively young and healthy...

Also remember that Medicaid and subsidized insurance is effectively a poverty trap, since you are penalized with loss of insurance for earning above a certain level.

Obamacare is turning out to be every bit of the disaster that many of us predicted it would be. Participation will be costly, exposes you to identity theft and loss of confidentiality, and will limit your access to quality medical care. It is time for patients to declare independence from government health care. This will inspire more physicians to opt out, to meet the increased demand for private care."




The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) stated the following in a May 2014 survey of its membership "MGMA ACA Exchange Implementation Survey Report," available at mgma.com:

"Overall, how favorable or unfavorable do you think the impact of the ACA insurance exchanges will be on your practice?

Very unfavorable (15.1%) Unfavorable (44.3%) Neutral (26.8%) Favorable (11.3%) Very favorable (2.5%)."




The Physicians Foundation, in a survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins, stated the following in its Sep. 2014 "2014 Survey of America's Physicians," available at its website:

"46% of physicians give the Affordable Care Act a D or F grade, while 25% give it an A or B."




Robert E. Moffit, PhD, Senior Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, in a May 11, 2010 Heritage foundation article, "Obamacare: Impact on Doctors," available at heritage.org, wrote:

"No class of American professionals will be more negatively impacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act than physicians. Third-party payment arrangements already compromise the independence and integrity of the medical profession; Obamacare will reinforce the worst of these features. Specifically, physicians will be subject to more government regulation and oversight, and will be increasingly dependent on unreliable government reimbursement for medical services."