Four reasons why 25% of American doctors are refusing to participate in Obamacare exchanges
by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
A growing number of doctors in the US are refusing to participate in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. By May 2014, the American Action Forum estimated that a total of 214,524 doctors were refusing to accept Obamacare health insurance plans. The Kaiser Family Foundation lists 893,851 active professional physicians working in the US. This means that about 25 percent of all state-licensed physicians are now refusing Obamacare plans.
As the Obamacare state exchanges got going in early 2014, many flopped. For example, in California, 70 percent of physicians were not participating in Covered California plans.
There are four important reasons why doctors are choosing to opt out. For the most part, the plans force them to take on unnecessary and burdensome costs -- costs that mock their profession and belittle their work.
#1. Obamacare cuts reimbursements to healthcare providers by up to 40 percent
The first reason why doctors are refusing these plans is because of their bottom-dollar reimbursements. A study by American Action Forum puts it in perspective: "It is estimated that where private plans pay $1.00 for a service, Medicare pays $0.80, and ACA exchange plans are now paying about $0.60." This meansthat , under private insurance, doctors are almost always fully compensated. Under state Medicare plans, those compensations are cut by up to 20 percent.
It's obvious why doctors raise their total price and why healthcare is so expensive today. They feel like they have to raise the price so the fraction that they are reimbursed covers the actual costs. The ballooned costs create a tug of war match between insurance companies and healthcare providers. The patient is left in the undertow, wondering why the medical intervention which they just received is bankrupting them now. Obamacare makes this situation worse, cutting reimbursements to the healthcare provider by up to 40 percent. Naturally, healthcare providers want nothing to do with that, so they reject the plans.
#2. Doctors forced to take on more patients to recoup losses, making healthcare more of a conveyor belt
The second reason why doctors are moving away from Obamacare is because it forces them to take in more patients to make up for the lost revenue. This destroys healthcare from the inside out, hurrying patients down a conveyor belt-like system. Doctors have to move through patients swiftly. Mistakes are made. Misdiagnoses are given. People are given pills to pacify their problems. Obamacare forces doctors to take on as many patients as they can, and that belittles their profession and makes healthcare more of a dangerous system that treats people like numbers.
#3. Low-income families can't even meet Obamacare deductibles, forcing doctors to foot the bill
If Obamacare means having to cram more patients through the conveyor belt with less reimbursement for services, then doctors are no longer respected. That kind of treatment shows up in how they perform their job.
On top of that, people herded into buying ACA plans are naturally choosing the plans with highest deductibles. An MGMA study showed that three-fourths of ACA patients pick the plans with the highest deductibles. The low-income families often can't even pay the deductible when they need care. Doctors are afraid that they will be stuck footing the bill for the majority of these Obamacare plans, and many have already taken on the burden.
#4. Obamacare forces doctors to recoup last 60 days of a person's unpaid premiums
The fourth reason why doctors don't want anything to do with Obamacare lies in the language of the law. According to the law, if someone stopped paying their premiums, the insurer must cover them for an additional 90 days. The catch is this: the insurer covers the first 30 days, while the doctor is forced to recover the last 60. This catch in the law is a big liability for doctors who are burdened with two months of unpaid premiums and all the paperwork that goes along with it.
As Obamacare sinks into America, healthcare professionals and people around the country are figuring out that the system is not affordable at all, not sustainable. The Affordable Care Act is just more weight pushing down on the root problems of America's healthcare system.
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