COMMENTARY

What Do Doctors Really Think About the ACA?

Alok S. Patel, MD

Disclosures

June 20, 2017

Editor's Note: Dr Patel asked a number of physician peers from around the nation to express their opinion on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Alok S. Patel, MD: Hey, doctors—what on earth is going on with healthcare reform in this country? We're physicians. We just want to take care of patients and do our jobs well without all of the mess. Some doctors think that repealing the ACA is a terrible idea. Other doctors were never fans of the ACA. One thing is true, however: All of us know exactly what we need to do to take care of patients, generate revenue, and be efficient practicing doctors. We just don't have a big enough voice yet.

My name is Dr Alok Patel, and I'm a pediatrician in New York City. Here at Medscape, the doctor's opinion is exactly what we're after, so pay attention. Should the ACA just be tweaked or should it be completely repealed?

Stephanie Markle, DO: I think it should be tweaked. Overall, the ACA has enabled the majority of patients to receive better follow-up care after they are in a traumatic incident.

Mark Stern, MD: Early on, a lot of patients who had been mine for a long time signed up for a plan and then found out they couldn't see me.

Natasha Demehri, MD, MPH: In general, [due to the] expansion of Medicaid coverage, getting follow-up for patients has been significantly easier for us.

Jacqueline Curtis, MD: Outpatient medications approved for psychiatry are very limited. The ones I am allowed to prescribe through that Act are very old, and they often are the ones that are the most dangerous.

Robert Stavert, MD: The ACA had several provisions in it which basically created many mechanisms to support safety-net hospital systems. This is in part because there was Medicaid expansion under the ACA and more Medicaid patients.

Matthew Franklin, MD: What a lot of people do not realize is that, yes, premiums have increased. But they are actually getting a lot more healthcare than what they're used to. For instance, all preventive care is covered.

Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD: I saw patients who were just waiting on their cancer treatments. I saw patients who were having trouble peeing for over a year. Finally with access, they were able to get their medications or sometimes even their surgeries.

Alan Wang, MD: Patients with insurance mandated by the ACA are able to afford much better care post-stroke. This is one of the biggest ways that we have seen during residency where the ACA has helped.

Alpesh Amin, MD: When I discharged patients from the hospital, many times I was very worried that I couldn't get them the appropriate follow-up that they needed. Now, due to the ACA, I am actually able to get them appropriate follow-up.

Dr Patel: There you have it—real opinions about healthcare reform from actual doctors. At the end of the day, we're the ones taking care of the patients, not politicians. We want to hear your comments, your feedback, and what's on your mind. Thanks so much for watching. Stay tuned for more.

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