WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2011 ( – More work, less pay, worse care. That seems to be doctors’ diagnosis of US president Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a new Thompson Reuters poll.

The Reuters/HCPlexus survey of 2958 doctors shows that 65 percent believe the quality of US health care is going to “deteriorate” over the next five years, while just 18 percent believe it would “improve.”

The survey was released Tuesday as the US House of Representatives began debate on legislation that would repeal the reform bill sought by Obama, known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), but labeled “ObamaCare” by its critics.

Doctors were very pessimistic about the PPACA’s impact on their discipline. Seventy-eight (78) percent of doctors said the PPACA has a “negative” impact on physicians, while only 8 percent said it would have “positive” benefits. Fourteen (14) percent said the PPACA would have a “neutral” effect on their profession.

When it came to the care of patients, 57 percent of doctors said the PPACA would have a “negative” effect, while less than half that number (27 percent) believed the effect would be “positive.” Fifteen (15) percent believed the effect of the reform law would be “neutral” overall. The survey noted the most optimistic groups were pediatricians and psychiatrists, with half in each believing in a positive outcome. Ophthalmologists and surgeons were the most pessimistic, both having the least positive responses and most negative responses.

Nearly three-quarters of doctors (74 percent) believe the “reforms” of the ACA will make reimbursement practices less fair for them, with physicians and nurse practitioners receiving closer levels of compensation despite having less of a medical education. Over 55 percent of doctors said anyone newly insured by the health care would more likely be seeing nurse practitioners or physician assistants provide them care than a primary care physician.

“The National Physicians Survey tells us that physicians have not been enlisted in the healthcare reform process,” said David Shrier, chief executive officer of HCPlexus, according to Reuters. “The message they’ve taken from healthcare reform appears to be ‘Do more with less.’ Doctors are telling us they feel disenfranchised and overburdened.”

House Republicans say they will vote on HR 2, the bill to repeal the PPACA, at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The measure is expected to pass, and the GOP will then vote Thursday on instructing several House committees to create alternative reform bills that will allow insurance companies to compete with each other across state lines, and are centered around doctors and patients having the most control over their health care decisions, instead of the federal bureaucracy.

Senate Democrat leaders have vowed to block the bill in their chamber, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on repeal if he is actually confident the Senate is against it. Even if the Senate does vote to repeal the PPACA, President Obama has promised to veto the repeal.


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