Now that the presidential election is over, it’s official that Obamacare is here.  Whatever your views on this legislation, as a member of the health care community the Affordable Care Act will affect you.  It seems that physicians are largely against these new rules and regulations and many of them say Obamacare will drive them to leave their practices.  What about nurse practitioners?

Physicians are expressing their dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act.  Blogs rant against the new legislation, some physicians have even taken to picketing in front of the White House.  Pre-Obamacare physicians were already beginning to express dissatisfaction with their careers.  Nine out of ten physicians recommend that their family members not become physicians.  60 percent of physicians over the age of 50 are projected to leave the medical profession within the next three years.  Why are they so angry?

Obamacare Threatens Physician’s Independence

With an increase of government involvement in health care, decisions regarding patient care will become more regulated.  Physician’s worry that with increasing regulations, testing and patient treatment will be determined by the government rather than clinical judgement.  Dr. Rick Schoeling, a primary care physician, says medicine will be “much more of a cookbook kind of thing”.

Physician Payments Decreased Under Obamacare

Medicare and Medicaid already reimburse physicians at a rate much lower than private insurances.  Obamacare plans to cut $716 billion from Medicare decreasing physician payments and additional 27.1 percent.  Many physicians say it will no longer be worth it for them to see Medicare patients.  They plan to cut many Medicare patients from their practices and limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat.

Costs of Managing a Practice Increase with Affordable Care Act

Doctors hate paperwork.  Paperwork is tedious and most of all costly.  The American Medical Association estimates that the average primary care physician spends about $85,000 each year to complete the paperwork necessary to be reimbursed by insurance companies.  Under Obamacare, the amount of paperwork associated with running a medical practice promises to increase making it more costly for physicians to manage their practices.

How Will the Level of Physician Dissatisfaction Affect Nurse Practitioners?

If doctors are leaving their practices and recommending that others not enter the physician profession, who will treat the millions of Americans becoming insured over the next few years?  Who will treat Americans currently cared for by physicians who plan to retire?

Nurse practitioners, of course!  Nurse practitioners will be called on to step in and fill the shoes of retiring physicians as well as to treat newly insured Americans.  Although Obamacare’s pitfalls (increased paperwork, decreased reimbursement rates) will affect nurse practitioners as well, the NP salary is not as inflated as that of physicians and will likely not take a hit under new legislation.  Nurse practitioners are used to following treatment guidelines and following protocol-based medicine and will be less frustrated by the limitations and government regulation the Affordable Care Act presents.  With a decrease in the number of primary care physicians, job opportunities for NP’s will significantly increase.

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5 thoughts on “Obamacare Drives Doctors to Retirement; What About NP’s?”

  • So, under the affordable care act, everyone is required to buy insurance. Now doctors will be out of the picture and replaced by NP’s who are not doctors. It’s not sounding like health care. A non-medical board making decisions on what is necessary in the first place, then patients being seen by someone who isn’t even a doctor!! My reservations about this new system are now confirmed. It’s about making money for those with means to invest in insurance companies and big clinics that will be approved by the “new plan”. It’s very big business and not health care at all!!

  • “Nurse practitioners are used to following treatment guidelines and following protocol-based medicine and will be less frustrated by the limitations and government regulation the Affordable Care Act presents. With a decrease in the number of primary care physicians, job opportunities for NP’s will significantly increase.”

    So, without doctors, who will setting these treatment “guidelines” and “protocols”?
    “LIMITATIONS” on our health care by unelected government bureaucrats??

  • This system has proved a complete and utter failure in Europe and South America, yet the US has to put it’s hand into the flame anyway. The system now is far from perfect, but it’s much better than what is coming with Obamacare. You get what you deserve, USA, you vote him and it back in, live with it.

  • This entire article is ridiculous and must have been written by a nurse. Did you forget about all the Physician Assistants? They do the exact same job, and actually statistics show their salary is higher on average than that of NP’s. This article makes it seem like Nps are heroes. Too bad there are also PAs which will be filling the gap too. I’ll also add that the requirements to even get into PA school is the same as MD school. Meanwhile, NPs take fluff nursing classes, and aren’t required to take any higher level science classes, which are fundamental to understanding human physiology. But the NPs claim they are so superior, which is highly inaccurate.

  • you sound pretty butthurt. I think you forget that many people who have entered into nursing have biology, chemistry, and exercise phys degrees prior to nursing degrees. so for you to say they don’t have an understanding of human physiology is pretty naive. not to mention nursing core classes require intensive anatomy and physiology classes. and you also forgot to take into account that most NPs have extensive experience in the healthcare field before enrolling in their MSN. PAs have their own place in the health care system. If you want to get technical, doctors are physicians, NPs are nurses, and PAs are assistants.

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