The Affordable Care Act is deeply unpopular among doctors, according to a Merritt Hawkins physician survey sent to most every doctor whose email address the AMA has. Forty-six percent of respondents give the law a “D” or an “F,” while only 25 percent gave it an “A” or a “B.” Broken down by age, younger doctors were slightly less opposed to the law than older ones, but even in the age groups most favorably disposed to the ACA a majority still gave it a “C,” “D,” or “F,” while only 31 percent gave it an “A” or “B.”The survey contains a lot of other interesting data points on U.S. medicine in general. There’s a pervasive wariness towards hospital employment (as opposed to private practice employment), though once again the younger respondents are more optimistic than the older. Eighty-one percent of respondents claim to be “overextended or at full capacity” with 20 percent of their time devoted to paperwork. Morale is up since the 2012 iteration of this survey, but still remains low, with 44 percent saying they have “positive feelings” toward their profession. A representative selection of written comments included at the end of the report is illuminating:
“Health reform would be better served by removing many thousands of pages of laws and bureaucrats rather than adding many thousands of pages of laws and bureaucrats” […]“We need to take a good long look at the fact that hospitals in general are incentivized to provide more care, never less care. There is simply no incentive for hospitals to make an effort to educate people on how to appropriately use the healthcare system. You can see evidence of this everywhere. In my area there are billboards advertising “online check-in” for ED visits. Most people who have time to stop and check-in online should be seen in a clinic setting.”
It appears Obamacare is unpopular with doctors because it adds layers of paperwork and bureaucracy on top of a broken and overtaxed system it does little to fix. Though expanding coverage was and remains a laudable goal, the doctors’ diagnosis sounds about right.