The Corner

Majority of Doctors Unfamiliar with Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, appears to be baffling doctors, those who ought to be most familiar with its implementation, as CNBC reports.

Vast majorities of doctors repeatedly indicated that they were only vaguely or completely unfamiliar with various aspects of the law, according to a new poll. Just over 54 percent indicated that they were not at all familiar with how insurance policies purchased from state exchanges would impact their business, and 65 percent were not familiar with the rates they will be paid by insurers on the exchanges. On top of that, over 67 percent were not familiar with the terms of a patient’s coverage and over 70 percent weren’t familiar with the claims process. Less than 3 percent of those polled indicated that they were “extremely familiar” on all of these questions.

It should come as no surprise, then, that only 11 percent believe the state health exchanges, which are scheduled to begin enrollment on October 1, will be open on time. Thirty-four percent don’t know if the exchanges will be open on time and a 55 percent believe they won’t open on time.

Shane Jackson, the president of Locum Tenens, the organization that conducted the survey, said the results bode ill for patients, who ”rely on their doctor for a lot of information.”

“They expect to a large degree that their doctors understand how this is all going to work,” said Jackson.

Unsurprisingly, the doctors also felt that consumers had not been adequately educated on the law, with a full 89 percent expressing skepticism. Another 9 percent didn’t know if consumers had received sufficient edification. Only 1.6 percent of the doctors who had been polled thought the public was well-informed. (Polling indicates that the majority of doctors are right on this question: A January Rasmussen poll found that only 32 percent of respondents knew if their state is going to establish an exchange.)

On the consumer side, people are similarly negative, albeit not to quite the same degree. Rasmussen’s latest poll reveals that 61 percent of likely voters expect health care in the United States to become worse over the next two years. Sixty-one percent is a recent high-water mark in Rasmussen’s polling on the matter; it’s up four points from a month ago and 13 points since February. The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on July 20–21.

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