"Through responses provided by approximately 12,000 physicians nationwide that included more than 800,000 data points – as well as through written comments by more than 4,000 physicians – the survey offers a unique and valuable insight into the practices and mindsets of today’s doctors."
Some key findings:
Only 6% described the professional morale of their colleagues as “positive”
78% said medicine is either “no longer rewarding” or “less rewarding”
60% said they would not recommend medicine as a career to young people
Only 17% rated the financial position of their practices as “healthy and profitable”
82% said their practices would be “unsustainable” if proposed cuts to Medicare reimbursement are made
65% said Medicaid reimbursement is less than their cost of providing care
36% said Medicare reimbursement is less than their cost of providing care
33% have closed their practices to Medicaid patients
12% have closed their practices to Medicare patients
49% of physicians indicated they will take one or more steps in the next one to three years that will reduce or eliminate patient access to their practices:
11% said they plan to retire
13% said they will pursue a job in a non-patient care setting
20% said they will cut back on patients seen
10% said they will work part time
7.5% said they will work locum tenens
7% said they will switch to concierge practices
So folks, for those of you who're steaming forward trying to establish a Medicare-type plan for everyone in the country - where do you expect to find doctors who will be willing to accept them? More and more doctors are finding that public health "insurance" programs reimburse them less than they're laying out, thereby making such practices frankly unsustainable. In response, more and more practices are simply not accepting such insurance programs.
Consider: these programs which are designed to help the poor gain access to care are actually making it more difficult.
How can the state respond?
Oh, we get fun stories like this from Illinois where the attorney general sued clinics who were simply trying to stay in business. They refused to accept more Medicaid patients because they just could not afford to continue operating at the reimbursement rates they were receiving. Yes, apparently the state thinks it has the right not only to dictate prices but also the right to force doctors to accept them. Isn't it nice to see doctors becoming government serfs? Does anyone think actions like these will encourage people to enter the healthcare arena, much less primary care?
My solutions: return free market medicine to primary care. Don't pretend that government reimbursement is full compensation for the doctor's time and effort. Care given to those who cannot pay should be understood as charity care and should be able to be deducted come tax day.