As Affordable Care Act kicks in, doctors face early retirement, bankruptcy

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  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 12, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    Doctors will retire or start a private practice. This will be a total disaster.

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    April 10, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    Well, the government has been so successful at managing our finances in other departments I have no doubt they will continue their string of success with healthcare.

    Unfortunately even "guaranteed" care under obamacare can't cure the pre-existing condition called liberalism and the inherit illness they have of wasting other peoples money on failed policies.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    April 10, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Interesting that some of the Obama/care supporters are attacking the messenger here.

    I knew the President and his plan were suspicious when he stated a few years ago "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." What he wasn't telling us is that there was no guarantee that the plan you currently have will even exist by the time Obamacare came into being. One had to be either totally naive, or totally biased politically to support that statement. And I just have to say it again, since the Republicans were totally left out of Obamacare, anything that goes wrong can be put on the Democrats. And you can count on a lot going wrong with it. Just wait.

  • Warrior Parent Belle Glade, FL
    April 10, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    you really need to talk to your Doctor friends to find the truth about this. Not any of them are liking what they see coming from Obamcare

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 10, 2013 1:29 a.m.

    For what it's worth.

    Thirty five years ago, health insurance cost me $31 a month for myself, and wife. Our first child cost a total of $400 for the doctor, and hospital.

    Amazing how things have changed.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    April 9, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    The DN article doesn't report a balanced summary of the survey's findings at all. It would be better, and more honest if DN simply reprinted the survey so readers could at least get the facts and arrive at their own conclusions.

    Oh, by the way.

    Over 20,000 letters were sent out to physicians and only 613 completed the surveys.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 9, 2013 2:28 p.m.

    Only a few,
    been buying into the MNSBC and DNC misinformation, I see.

    Ryan's plan would have done nothing to current or near-future medicare recipients, but would have reformed it for much later recipients.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 9, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    @metamoracoug – “We simply cannot afford to perform $2500 worth of services and get reimbursed 450 bucks.”

    First – thank you very much for adding something substantive to the discussion (unlike all the “I hate Obama” nonsense). However, everything you said implies that the price(s) charged for those procedures are an accurate reflection of the true costs (direct, overhead, reasonable profit margin).

    This is highly questionable - for one, you would be hard pressed to find virtually any medical procedure done in the U.S. that could not be performed for a fraction of the cost in any other country (including any country where the overall cost-of-living is roughly equal to ours).

    I agree that doctors can get squeezed by others within the medical industry (drug companies, device makers, insurance companies, etc…) and that is a big flaw in a system rife with flaws.

    But the problem is not Medicare… the problem is at least one of the providers along the supply chain is making out like a bandit.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    April 9, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    Matt4226: You have hit upon the real issue. Most Americans are living an unhealthy lifestyle. They rarely exercise. They fill their bellies with high calorie, highly refined, low nutrition foods. They spend 5 or 10 more times the amount of minutes in front of a screen than the amount of time they are outside.

    You want to lower the cost of healthcare? Start by improving your own health.

    That is the reason I don't want national healthcare. It removes any personal responsibility for taking control of my health.

  • One of a Few Layton, UT
    April 9, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Metamoracoug's comment sounds credible and I believe is pretty accurate. So, the question is, why does UT blame Obama for Congress' and the previous administration's assault on Medicare Reimbursements. It was Ryan and company that proposed dismantling Medicare and the assault on reimbursements began long before Obama - just ask your pathologist. Granted, nothing has improved. But since all of the following statements are pretty accurate: the problems discussed in the article predate Obamacare; the Republican Congress won't pass anything additional that Obama wants to fix the problem; UT hates everything Obama proposes; and the only alternative the Republican Congress suggests is more cuts to Medicare - I'm honestly not understanding why Utahns are whining. It seems to me, Utahns are winning - they are getting their cuts by attrition. Problem solved.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    April 9, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    One voter said: "Maybe we should increase doctors salaries and create the worlds most expensive system so they could have two country club memberships."

    This is a fallacy. The physician in our office took a 45% pay cut so that none of her staff had to be laid or take a pay cut during the recession. Is doing a little better now, but only because we are limiting the number of Medicare patients we see. I add that we do not except Medicaid patients because Illinois public aid does not cover the services our physician performs.

    Doctors -- especially those in private practice -- are not as wealthy as perceived by most in this country. And lest we forget, they invested a ton of time and acquired a pile of debt to earn the right to be a little better off than the trash man.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    April 9, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Tyler D said: "First – the Medicare reimbursement scare is a red herring."

    Speaking as one who actually manages a private medical office, you are wrong. Our physician performed neuropsych evals. Only 4-5 are done each week because the assessment takes 7-10 hours. We now limit Medicare evaluations to one per week. It costs our office about $800 to break even. Medicare reimburses about $525 with a co-payment of about $125. That's pretty simple math -- $150 short on each Medicare patient.

    At the beginning of the year, Congress acted to postpone until 1 January 2014 a 32% cut in the Medicare reimbursement rate. If that had not occurred -- and if it doesn't happen again next year -- we would not be seeing any Medicare patients. We simply cannot afford to perform $2500 worth of services and get reimbursed 450 bucks.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    Until you get priced out of healthcare entirely; I suggest studying herbal medicine, or SOME form of homeopathy.

    Unless you're either poor to lower middle class, or wealthier than me, you won't be able to afford medical care.

    Of course the poor will always have medicaid, or something similar, and the wealthy will probably be able to afford healthcare for awhile, but all the rest of us in-between will be out of luck.

    Between my spouse and myself and our employers we are now paying just over 20k per year for insurance. Next year I'm going to just drop both of them and pay the Obamacare penalties.
    I plan on just showing up to the e.r. like the illegals do when I need care which is seldom anyway!

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 9, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    WHAT NOW? wrote, "However, upon close inspection, Eric informs readers who took the time to read the entire piece...The problem has been brewing for years now".

    But the implication of the headline is that one has something to do with the other. And so, as you state, it gives the usual complainers a chance to go off on the president. Had the writer of the headcline been more responsible that might not have happened.

    OH, who am I kidding? Of course it would. Some folks don't need an excuse.

    It's just irritating, that's all.

  • matt4226 Holladay, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    Only in the United States of America can you find a healthcare system that is the most expensive in the world and at the same time find doctors who are going bankrupt. The system is broken and the ACA will not fix it, but doing nothing will also not fix it.

    Our system is designed to treat diseases instead of preventing them. Until we can change that it will only get worse. With obesity rates on the rise there will be more people who will require disease treatment at younger and younger ages increasing the burden on the system.

    Medicare and Medicaid will bankrupt our country if the system is left as is. One way to raise revenue to pay for expected costs would be to tax prepared foods both at the grocery store and at restaurants. Another idea is to shift subsidies from corn, wheat and soy to fruits and vegetables or just eliminate them completely.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:39 a.m.


    You left out half the sentence. "The problem has been brewing for years now, driven in part by sharp declines in reimbursements for Medicare."

    Like it or not, sharp declines in reimbursements are a feature of Obamacare. Proponents of Obamacare are going to have to own this.

    The loss of doctors due to Obamacare was predictable, and predicted.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    To "silo" if the report that you quote is truthful, why is it that my insurance now costs me more and covers much less? My relatives that work for a health insurance company have been telling me that thanks to Obamacare and the mandates and regulations it imposes that you will see more insurance agencies crumbling because nobody can afford the care mandated.

    Remember we were sold a $900 billion program that is now a $2.6 Trillion program. Where are the savings, where is the improved care?

    To "ECR" large portions of the ACA are now in effect, and we can now see the results of that decision.

    To "Fred44" during those same 20 years we have gone from around 800 mandates to over 2600 mandates on insurance providers. Those were done by the government, that is partially why the cost has gone up so much. You also have an increase in lawsuits against doctors, which drives up their malpractice insurance.

    If you want somebody to blame, you have lawyers and politicians.

  • tesuji Cedar City, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    "Obamacare forcing doctors out of a job?" Your title implies that but the article doesn't describe that. Title seems very misleading.

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    What are people so mad about? Look on the bright side. Now nobody in the world will hate us for our good fortune cause we'll be just like them!

  • WHAT NOW? Saint George, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    Write ACA into a headline and the usual suspects regurgitate the usual talking points.

    However, upon close inspection, Eric informs readers who took the time to read the entire piece...

    "...The problem has been brewing for years now...".

    When the Republicans had control of the White House, the Senate and the House, they did nothing to fix the problem.

    So, let's blame the current administration for the Republican failure to fix the problem that has been brewing for years.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 9, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    Maybe somebody can help me understand what is happening to my money. For the last twenty years, long before the Affordable Health Care Act, my company insurance premium increases have hovered right around 10% a year. In that same 20 year period of time the number of doctors I can select from has decreased and my out of pocket expenses have increased because we keep chipping away at the plan. I am not buying the poor doctor theory either, but if they aren't making money then somebody in the health care system is cleaning up.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    April 9, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Liberals, even when evidence adds up there is still always an excuse. Maybe that's the problem, they just excuse themselves instead of taking responsibility.

    When doctors and hospitals can't stay in business because they have to eat the costs that medicare won't cover, then we will be in big trouble. And the liberals will probably still have excuses instead of solutions.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    The fact that Obamacare does NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZIPPO, ZERO, NOTHING!!!!!! to control costs makes your 9:33 post irrelevant.

    I was not blaming BO for the cost increases between the cost to deliver your daughter versus the cost to deliver your granddaughter. Nice obfuscation, though.

    He and the dems ARE responsible for chasing doctors out of the business.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 9, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    In every other industrialzed nation in the world, the tort laws are different than they are here. The losing party in a civil lawsuit is responsible for all court costs, including legal fees in those other countries. That kind of change would put a dent in the pocket books of ambulance chasers but would make the practice of medicine a lot safer. Only those with justifiable cases would be bringing them to court. The way our systemn works now, a person can be forced to pay damages they don't owe, simply because the threat of a court case can be more expensive than settling out of court. I don't have time or space to tell some frightening stories from those who have been victimized this way. It's a mess we should all be interested in cleaning up.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 9, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    I'm not sure if it is Mr. Schultzke or the person who wrote the headline but one of them should apply for a job in the op-ed department. The implication that the yet-to-be-started ACA is responsible for doctors leaving the profession enmasse is nonsense. The issues described in the article - insurance reimbursment, malpractice suits and others - have been plagueing the medical profession for years. A close friend of mine praticed medicine in the US until the 1980's when he took a job in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the States in the late 80's and, on the advice of friends in the profession, he never practiced again. Why? Becuase of frivilous law suits and outrageous malpractice insurance premiums. Another friend is a gynocologist who was sued by one of his patients. When she attampted to continue seeing him after the law suit he asked what she was thinking. Her response, "Well I didn't sue you, I sued your insurance company" The cost of competing in the free market medical industry is what is causing the mass exodus, not the Affordable Care Act.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 9, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    Great news. Maybe market forces will actually correct this industry long-insulated from real market forces.

    There will be pain in the correction, but if in the end prices come down and maybe insurance companies stop shielding providers and consumers from the actual cost of care then everyone will benefit.

    Unfortunately, I don't see that happening as a side effect of with a government program, it will only add another layer of inefficiency and cost. But I predict that one day doctors will provide care to patients and patients will pay for the care. That will lead to competition and lower prices. One Day.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    April 9, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    From the article title:
    "As Affordable Care Act kicks in, doctors face early retirement, bankruptcy"

    The author makes a thinly veiled attempt to tie ACA to the retirement and bankruptcy figures of doctors. In doing so, all the regular right wingers jump on board to tout how correct they were, and that this article proves it.

    However, the title, and the article are both fabrications by the author. Anyone who bothers to actually read the survey results would see that.

    In fact, the first point made in the executive summary on page one of the report states:
    "The performance of the U.S. health care system is suboptimal, but the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a good start to addressing issues of access and cost." The survey numbers posted later in the report reinforce this.

    Leave it to DN to publish an article claiming the exact opposite of the actual events, and leave it to the normal crowd of lemmings to follow the story over the edge without bothering to actually read it.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    Maybe we should increase doctors salaries and create the worlds most expensive system so they could have two country club memberships. Or we could bring down costs and lower the deficit.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 9, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    In Obama's first four years, --thirteen thousand new regulations were added---USA Today

    Hmm? Regulations are like speed bumps on a highway, and just slows things down. You see it in education, medicine, travel, starting businesses, gun ownership, banking, medicare,etc.

    What kind of transformation is our country experiencing?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 9, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Mountainman..that's exactly the point..Rommney would have done nothing to prevent the rising costs of medicare, and it's not pulling out 700billion..that's a Fox new analysis, it's 700 billion in savings, most of which has little to do with doctors.

    DN subscriber..why the hatred for doctors retiring early..are you kidding..Hutterite said it best..65 to 70 is not retiring early, their simply going to retire when they are suppose to.

    Lost in DC it didn't boil over until Obamacare..that's the best one yet. Where have you been for the past 40 years. Let me use my old tired example. My yougest daughter cost us $400 when she was born. The child she had last year cost $10,000 with no complications..and that's Obamacars fault?

  • UT Brit London, England
    April 9, 2013 9:15 a.m.


    "No problem, we can always follow Europes lead and import our Doctors and nurses from India and the Philipines."

    Ha, what do you mean follow their lead? You do it already!!!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 9, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    Is it just me, or are the doctors retiring because they're of retirement age?

  • KDave Moab, UT
    April 9, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    No problem, we can always follow Europes lead and import our Doctors and nurses from India and the Philipines.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 9, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    So this is what passes for journalism these days? More like something we would expect from a high school debate – full of non-sequiturs and hysteria.

    First – the Medicare reimbursement scare is a red herring. A quick look at the prevalence of thriving hospitals and clinics in Florida exposes this claim for what it is.

    Second – what does this statement have to do with anything (other than to show that Medical Schools, licensed by the AMA, have had a stranglehold on the supply of doctors for decades and now it is biting us in the backside)?

    "One out of three practicing physicians in the United States is over the age of 55, and many of them are expected to retire in the next 10 or 15 years.”

    Doctors want to start enjoying their golden years somewhere between 65-70? And in other news, scientists suggest that the Earth is spherical in shape.

    One fact simply torpedoes the entire premise of this article – doctors in the U.S. have higher incomes than their international peers, which is why doctors from other countries continue to try and emigrate in droves.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 9, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    What would you expect from a bill that had zero doctors involved in its writing? There are two doctors in the US Senate and eighteen in the House. All Republican. No Republican was permitted to see the bill before the Senate voted on it. The House was not permitted to change one iota in the bill.

    This was all about politics and had nothing to do with Health Care.

    Obama Care also banned every conservative solution to our nations health care problems. They don't want real, market based solutions. You can't impose socialized medicine on the American people unless there is a problem so you can't allow any real solutions.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    April 9, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Liberals are victims of ideology and not students of reality. Because of that articles like this one are appearing all over the country.

    Magaret Thatcher was right, the problem with socialism (and that's exactly what Obama believes and is motivated by i.e. gun control, healthcare control, share the wealth, higher taxes, bank control)is that eventually you run out of others peoples money.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    April 9, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    @ pragmatistferlife- Why the hatred for doctors "retiring early" at ages 65-70? They are not slaves to be chained to a medicare cubicle for life, and age 65-70 is pretty much the high side of retirement age nowadays.

    This piece hits at one (of many) core weaknesses of Obamacare. It does nothing to increase the availability of medical care, but only meddles with the cost side using the failed notions of price controls or the unhealthy prescription of "bureaucrats know better than doctors," and as a last resort will implement the accurately named "death panels" to ration the dwindling amount of care to chosen beneficiaries.

    Obamacare fails to tackle the obscene abuses of the tort industry (who make more and retire earlier than doctors), or to increase the number of health care providers with incentives for more people to undertake the arduous challenge of becoming physicians, or increase the number of medical or nursing schools. Or, allowing free market competition where people can choose the insurance they desire (different for a healthy 20 year old single male than a 50 year old mother of 6).

    Obamacare will be the death of us all.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 9, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    Rationing? Deathe panels?

    BO SAID they would not happen, but when there is not enough supply, rationing in some form or another has to occur.

    it may have been brewing, but it never boiled over until BO and the dems rammed Obamacare down our throats through back-room negotiations, bribery, and skullduggery.. And the majority of the nation did not reject Romney's business acumen - polls showed more trusted him with the economy than they did BO; they just bought into BO's class warfare and lies.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    April 9, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    I fear for the coming health care debacle! Knowing what is going on with health exchanges in one of the eastern states the corruption in trying to implement it is terrible, contract are being awarded to relatives who have no experience in the subject of the contract awarded to them. And the Dr's who spent 15 + years of their lives becoming expert in saving lives are being written off as if they never completed kindergarden.

    Do we have kings and princes ruling over us? Why won't congress and the white house sign on and participate in the same health care system they put in place for us? We should demand that they must participate and just maybe they will get rid of it!

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    April 9, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    Right, Nate, but you can't keep him if he retires!!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 9, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    @ Pragmatistferlife. Mitt Romney would have repealed Obamacare and not transferred $750 billion out of Medicare to waste on Obamacare! Imagine that!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 9, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    So it's been brewing for years, long before Obamacare. A set of cardiology tests I had last year cost over $20,000, and doctors who are over the age of 55 now are expected to retire early by retiring in the next 10 to 15 years. Sorry sir this just doesn't add up. Just another ideological hack piece.

    Mitt Rommney would have done what..continue to pay medicare reimbursments at their current rates, while saving the system from bankruptcy? Again it didn't add up and a majority of the nation knew it.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 9, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    Stop worrying. Barack Obama said, if you like your doctor, you can keep him.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 9, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    Regulations, ambulance chasing lawyers, Obama Care.... I don't know why anyone would want to sacrifice 12 to 16 years of their lives to be doctors. My hats off to them.

    Get rid of burdensom regulations as well as tort reform to corral the ambulance chasers and things might change.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 9, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    Don't blame me, I voted for Mitt Romney! I absolutely knew this was going to happen and its only going to get worse!