After 25 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Tamzin Rosenwasser packed in her dermatology practice in 2011, barely a year after the passage of President Obama’s health care initiative. The timing wasn’t coincidental.
“I have interrupted practicing medicine because of Obamacare,” said Dr. Rosenwasser. “I’d read the bill. I was conversant with what had already happened with Medicaid, and I didn’t want to go down that road with Obamacare.”
The Affordable Care Act isn’t scheduled to be fully implemented until next year, but some doctors already are viewing it as dead on arrival. The medical rumor mill is abuzz with stories about physicians girding for Mr. Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement by limiting their exposure to Medicare and Medicaid, selling their practices, converting to fee-for-service approaches, or even retiring from medicine altogether.
“Every single day, people are talking about retiring early, getting out of clinical medicine, or going into hospital administration, where you don’t have to think about patient care anymore,” said Dr. Richard Armstrong, a Michigan surgeon and chief operating officer of Docs 4 Patient Care, which opposes the Affordable Care Act.
“Some physicians are all for [Obamacare],” said Dr. Rosenwasser, who had practices in Florida and Indiana and is a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which opposes the program. “They’ve been brought up in the government system. This is what they know.”
Most doctors appear to be waiting to see what happens. “About 90 percent of doctors are completely uninformed about what the government’s doing,” Dr. Armstrong said. “A lot of them are in this free-floating anxiety mode.”