Most docs pessimistic about health reform, study says

Almost seven out of 10 physicians think the U.S. health reform will deter the best and brightest would-be doctors from pursuing a career in medicine, according to a survey released by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

Only 27 percent of the 501 physicians surveyed said they believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) likely will reduce health costs by increasing efficiency, while 33 percent think the law could decrease disparities, according to the report, "Physician Perspectives about Health Care Reform and the Future of the Medical Profession."

As for how they will be affected personally, nearly half of the physicians surveyed believe that their income will decrease in the next year as a result of health reform, with physicians in their 50s and surgical specialists being the most pessimistic about their future earnings.

Physicians' attitudes toward health reform in general also fall along similar generational and specialty-related divides. In particular, 59 percent of physicians ages 50 to 59 feel PPACA is a step in the wrong direction, while only 36 percent of those ages 25 to 39 agreed with that statement. Moreover, surgical specialists (57 percent) are much more likely to support the law's repeal compared to primary care providers (38 percent) and non-surgical specialists (34 percent).

"Effective reform has to consider the physician's view as a starting point," Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and lead author of the report, said in a press release. "We not only have to design the right model, but we have to create the right incentives and processes for implementing that model."

To learn more:
- read the press release from Deloitte
- download the full report (.pdf)