The doctor won’t see you now: Doctors are so unhappy with private health insurers that an increasing number of them won’t accept new patients, even if they have health insurance. As a result, the healthcare reform law may not work as advertised. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 means millions more people will have health insurance, recent research suggests that these newly
insured people may still be unable to access healthcare.
A new study reported in the June 27th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine shows that, since 2005, doctors have been accepting fewer patients with health insurance. Dr. Tara Bishop, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and lead author of the study, said the results suggest insured patients could face new obstacles to receiving medical attention, and overall access to healthcare could actually diminish.
“Given the medical profession’s widely reported dissatisfaction with Medicare, we expected to find hard evidence that Medicare patients were being turned away,” Bishop said. “Instead, we saw only a modest decline in doctors’ acceptance of patients on Medicare. The survey data showed a more significant decline in their acceptance of patients with private insurance.”
The study revealed that doctors’ acceptance of patients with private insurance declined from 93.3 percent in 2005 to 87.8 percent in 2008.
“At a moment when the country is poised to achieve near-universal coverage, patients’ access to care could be a casualty of the collision between the medical profession and the insurance industry,” Bishop said.