Most primary care docs not in favor of total ACA repeal

A new survey finds primary care doctors do not want to see an outright repeal of the ACA.

Most doctors on the frontline of U.S. healthcare are not in favor of a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey.

Just 15% of primary care doctors in the country say they would like to see the health reform law totally repealed, according to the survey of 426 physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The survey was conducted following the election that put President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and put Republicans in charge in Washington—giving reality to the likelihood that lawmakers wil repeal the healthcare reform law, although what will replace it is a big unknown.

Researchers surveyed a random sampling of primary care doctors by mail and phone from December 2016 to January 2017. Responses varied according to the doctors’ political party affiliation, with no Democrats saying they wanted to see the ACA repealed in contrast to 32.4% of Republicans, the survey found.

Among doctors who said they voted for Trump, only 37.9% wanted the law repealed in its entirety. The percentage of those doctors who support complete repeal is lower than that of the general public, where 26% of respondents wanted the act repealed according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

"Primary care physicians are on the front lines of healthcare—they are physicians that patients know best and turn to first when they are sick. With primary care physicians often helping patients navigate challenges with their insurance, it is critical to understand their perspectives on the repeal of the act," Craig Pollack, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper's lead author, said in a study announcement.

Even though doctors overwhelmingly oppose full repeal, almost three-quarters of primary care doctors are open to changes in the ACA. Many are not in support of proposals that have emerged as leading Republican alternatives. 

Enacting even a partial repeal of the ACA could increase the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million within a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.