Doctors are on the front lines of Obamacare's changes. The legislation requires more than $500 billion in cuts to Medicare to fund new entitlement spending. Doctors also fear the barrage of new rules and regulation. They must invest in federally approved information technologies to get paid by the government. More paperwork — with resulting clerical expenses — will be required to prove they are following government performance standards that many disparage as "cookbook medicine," robbing them of their ability to tailor care to individual patient needs. The $250 million promised by the Obama administration to boost medical training will barely make a dent in the need. Ironically, the health overhaul law didn't increase the number of residency slots so new doctors can have a place to train. Congress must restructure Medicare to allow seniors more choice and control over their health spending, including allowing them to continue to join private plans with incentives for doctors to provide more efficient care, and to get paid enough to continue seeing patients. — Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute
Just after the health reform bill passed in March, Republicans rushed to every microphone they could find to lament how the legislation would bring an end to our health care system as we know it. One of their favorite talking points is that physicians across the country are going to stop accepting Medicare patients as a result of reform. So let's set the record straight: The legislation actually increases the reimbursement rates for physicians and includes no cuts to benefits for those enrolled in the traditional Medicare program. The only thing the legislation cuts is waste and fraud — the latter of which, between Medicare and Medicaid, costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. It also greatly reforms Medicare Advantage, a program that overpaid private insurance companies by an average of 15 percent for the same — if not worse — care that you'd get with traditional Medicare. In short, the legislation makes the Medicare program leaner and more efficient and does nothing to discourage doctors from accepting Medicare patients. — Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.