Obamacare Repeal Leaves Doctors Divided

As a locum tenens, many of the assignments you end up taking could be in smaller, more rural hospitals. With smaller staffs and fewer resources, locum tenens often become a crucial part of running a smaller facility. Unfortunately, with the Obamacare repeal looming, many rural hospitals are left wondering if their facility can even withstand the effects of the coming changes. Other doctors counter that a reform will finally get rid of the bureaucracy that has turned patients into customers and taken valuable time away from patients.

With nearly 12 million enrollees in the program, a repeal means that this large portion of the population will be forced to look elsewhere. With fewer patients covered by insurance, this means that the revenue stream coming into the hospitals will be smaller. This domino effect means that hospitals simply do not have the revenue to pay staff and maintain a working facility.

No Coverage, No Care

The American Medical Association delivered messages towards the government, in an open letter addressed to congressional leaders of both parties. But its intended audience was GOP leadership and members President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration that have said repealing the Affordable Care Act would be their first order of business. While the GOP party has promised that they can replace The Affordable Care Act with something better, even party leaders acknowledge that they don’t have a plan set in stone.

Many small practices could be forced to sell or to merge with bigger hospital systems. In the past six years, more than 70 such facilities have closed or merged with bigger facilities, citing financial duress. Almost 700 more have been deemed at risk of following the same path. With these issues mounting, many top physicians are urging the government to at least reveal their replacement plan before the Obamacare repeal goes into effect.

Others worry that the private insurance companies will gain more leverage, therefore controlling the prices of insurance plans, medications, and deductibles. With diabetes, obesity, and other issues at an all-time high, insurance companies could quickly become the gatekeepers of a healthy life.

Obamacare Repeal Could Be Positive

Many physicians are actually backing the Obamacare repeal for a few different reasons. Many doctors got into the profession because they want to help people, and work with them face-to-face. However, with all the bureaucracy, programs, and forms to fill out, doctors are spending less time with their patients, and these patients are quickly transforming into just customers in a transaction.

Others who are low on the income spectrum say that the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Stuck between a monthly fee that’s still too steep, and a penalty enforced at the end of the year, many are looking forward to the Obamacare repeal.

What Next?

We really don’t know what we can expect. While the GOP has vowed to overhaul the entire Obamacare healthcare system, we still have no idea how they plan to do that. Hopefully, the divide between doctors will close and they can work together with lawmakers to create an affordable healthcare plan that can make all parties happy. Either way, no matter what happens after the Obamacare repeal, there will always be locum tenens positions that need to be filled.

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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