Politics

Poll: only 11 percent of doctors think the ObamaCare exchanges will be ready

Poll: only 11 percent of doctors think the ObamaCare exchanges will be ready

The medical community is not exactly brimming with enthusiasm for ObamaCare, as you can see from a new survey reported by CNBC, in which only 11 percent of doctors say they expect the ObamaCare exchanges to be “open for business” on October 1.

And if you’re confused about how this monstrous, badly-written health care law is supposed to work, you’re in good company, because doctors don’t understand it either:

Doctors, by a wide margin, also said they are “not at all familiar” with how a number of important aspects of those exchanges and plans offered on them will work—aspects that will directly affect their bottom lines. More than 65 percent of them gave that answer to all but one of the questions asking their familiarity with plan benefits levels, contracted rates with insurers, patient coverage terms and the claims process.

Shane Jackson, president and COO of LocumTenens.com, which conducted the survey, said the results are potential red flags for not only the finances of those physicians’ offices, but also for their patients, who “rely on their doctor for a lot of information.”

“They expect to a large degree that their doctors understand how this is all going to work,” said Jackson, whose company is a full-service physician staffing agency and online industry job board.

Noting that an important goal of the Affordable Care Act is enrolling the uninsured in insurance plans—which will theoretically put more money in doctors’ pockets—Jackson said, “As major stakeholders and advocates in this effort, physicians should be educated about how these changes will impact them, their patients and their prospective patients.”

“Our survey shows that for the most part, they are in the dark,” Jackson said. “Doctors, they’re seeing patients and they don’t have time or motivation to get up to speed on this, but they’re going to have to because it’s going to impact them.”

Jackson said that the “the major lack of awareness” among both doctors and patients “is troubling.”

Yes, that sounds like a great idea for improving medical services in the United States: force doctors to stop working on medicine and take the impromptu civil-service exams necessary to begin their new careers as deputy government bureaucrats.  Yet another of the highly accurate criticisms leveled at ObamaCare over the years has been the way it will choke off the actual supply of medical care, by giving doctors incentives to stay out of increasingly burdensome government programs, and even prompting many of them to retire or transform their practices in ways that will decrease patient access.  The lament that doctors have to stop seeing patients so they can “get up to speed” on the massive healthcare boondoggle – dumped on them by political hacks who sure as hell didn’t bother to “get up to speed” on it before passing it – is a frank admission that ObamaCare will reduce the quality and quantity of actual medical care, in addition to messing with the health insurance market.

At the moment, the LocumTenens poll has 56 percent of doctors “not at all familiar” with how policies purchased from ObamaCare’s train-wreck state exchanges will affect their practices.  66 percent don’t understand the rate schedules; 68 percent are unfamiliar with patient coverage terms; and a whopping 71 percent are unfamiliar with the claims process.  89 percent of them don’t think consumers understand any of this stuff, either.

Here’s one of those “patient coverage terms” doctors are unfamiliar with, which means some “nasty surprises” are coming their way:

Jackson said that doctors who don’t have an understanding of those coverage terms could be in for a nasty surprise once the new plans go into effect.

That’s because under the rules of the exchange, a patient can go up to three months without paying premiums and still not get their coverage formally dropped by an insurers—but the insurer isn’t obligated to pay claims incurred during the second and third month if that person isn’t paying their premiums for that time, Jackson said.

Those rules could mean that doctors end up eating the cost of the care they have already provided, or have their receivables stay unpaid for longer stretches of time.

Maybe we’d all be better off if the ObamaCare exchanges detonate on the launch pad this October, because if they do get up and running, your visit to the doctor’s office stand to become a madhouse of overcrowding and confusion:

Those doctors, on average, believe they will see a 13.4 percent increase in the number of patients coming to their practices after the state health exchanges go into effect. Those exchanges, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, are being set up to enroll uninsured people, many of whom will receive government subsidies to purchase insurance from companies that choose to sell plans through the marketplaces.

In other words, a gigantic new welfare program is going to pack office waiting rooms full of confused people trying to use their taxpayer-subsidized benefits, while the people on the other side of the sliding glass window in the reception area wonder how much of a loss they’re going to take because nobody understands how the system works, and some of the patients surging into the office might not even have valid insurance, but there won’t be any way to tell until the claims get denied.  We need to repeal ObamaCare in full, pronto, so America can wake up from this nightmare.

 

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