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Doctors Swallow a Bitter Pill

Michal Eisikowitz

While Obamacare has been embraced by liberal humanitarian organizations, middle- to upper-class Americans have been forced into a frustrating game of medical musical chairs. But there is another casualty: The cocktail of shaved-down reimbursement rates and a heap of required expenditures is proving to be lethal for private practitioners.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

doctor Affordable Care Act (ACA) — better known as Obamacare — on March 23, 2010, an already nippy medical climate is becoming downright unpleasant for physicians.

Facing mandated electronic records, paltrier-than-ever reimbursement rates, relentlessly swelling reams of paperwork, and increased pressure to see more and more patients to maintain income levels, doctors are finding it more difficult than ever to cultivate the time-honored, cherished patient-physician relationship.

“I didn’t have the stamina and single-mindedness to provide high-quality, compassionate care within the existing environment,” writesDianeShannon, a Massachusetts physician who left clinical practice.

What’s more, physicians are no longer guaranteed the good life.

“I just finished my 87-hour week,” Dr.MatthewMoellerwrote in a Guardian op-ed about why he’s not quite getting rich. At age 30, with two kids and $230,000 in medical school debt, Moeller says being a physician today means significantly sacrificing on quality of life.

In the changing world of medicine, where a perverse survival of the fittest reigns, prototypical physician traits like “patient” and “passionate” have become imperiled. Threatened by infinite government mandates and cuts, the post-Obamacare doctor may have to quickly evolve into a different species: business-savvy, efficient, systematic — and to a degree, automated.


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