Breaking Down Obamacare: Physicians Face Burden Of More Patients - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Breaking Down Obamacare: Physicians Face Burden Of More Patients

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WMDT 47 News – For the millions of people nationwide with no access to health insurance, Obamacare may just be their savior. But what exactly does that mean for hospitals, physicians and other medical providers?

"The affordable care aspects of healthcare reform are kind of a very slippery slope and a very political animal to talk about. Hospitals are going to face increased pressure to provide care at a lower cost than they have before, and that increased pressure is going to make the way the delivery system currently operates to change," Chris Carroll of Atlantic Smith, Cropper & Deeley said.

Starting January 1, 2014, applications for health insurance will be based solely on your age, where you live and tobacco use which the law hasn't clearly defined.

"Weight doesn't play a factor; medications don't play a factor. Any kind of preexisting conditions including heart problems and cancer don't play a factor. Applying for plans on the exchange, you will now be eligible for plans without medical question," Chris Keen of Keen Insurance Associates said.

With this new influx of people with access to healthcare, will the added burden be too overwhelming for doctors?

"We have shortages of physicians in the state of Maryland today. Especially in areas that are already under-served of which there are many on Maryland's Eastern Shore," President and CEO of Maryland Hospital Association Carmela Coyle said.

"Just last week I got a letter from my primary care physician of 15 years stating that he's going to be dropping out of practice next month. The question is, are physicians going to be able to see and extra 15-20 patients a day? I know when I call my doctor, I typically have to wait two or three weeks to get an appointment," Keen said.

Then there's the issue of whether or not this could affect the quality of healthcare and outcomes.

"We want to make sure that we're getting patients the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. We're going to watch very, very carefully to make certain that we can make good on the promise of healthcare reform. We've got a lot of work to do," Coyle said.

She goes on to say that offering doctors incentives such as helping with loan repayments, will be critical in making certain that we can increase the number of doctors practicing in the state.

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