Almost half of Americans (47%) say the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a bad idea, according to a fresh Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The three healthcare professionals I spoke with this week believe the law overhauling the nation's healthcare system is a terrible idea.
All the doctors are disappointed with the real Obamacare facts they know to be true...
Dr. Michael Lospinuso of Monmouth County, NJ-based Orthopaedic Spine Institute, told Money Morning the sentiment is "unanimous" among his colleagues.
The chief of spinal surgery at Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit health care provider in New Jerse's and named one of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for four consecutive years (2010-2013), the widely accomplished Dr. Lospinuso just returned from Zurich's prestigious Schulthess Clinic, where he was invited to see firsthand how European medicine works.
He likens Obamacare to the two-tier medical insurance system in Europe. The top, or platinum level, is for those who buy private insurance and in return get top-notch care. Meanwhile, the lower level is for those who receive general practice care from the state.
"Those with GP insurance have no choice, they wait, and in the end, they suffer. While they wait, quality of life is reduced and end-of-life choices are greatly limited. That's the road Obamacare is leading us down," Dr. Lospinuso said.
What bothers Dr. Lospinuso so much is that the Obama administration didn't work with doctors in assembling a workable and sustainable healthcare plan. He is also troubled by how Democrats tainted the Republican Party in its fight against the president's signature bill.
"They have done a disservice to the American public and the field of medicine," Dr. Lospinuso said. "It's sad. We already work at a loss, because working to make people well is what we do. That's simply the integrity of our profession. It's in our fabric."
As for all the changes and delays, Dr. Lospinuso said, "The president simply changes the rules whenever he wants to fit his needs and political agenda. He had a great opportunity to do something great for America. However, he blew it."
And here's what really bothers Dr. Lospinuso...
"My big concern is that if Hillary Clinton is the next president, things will only get worse. They will socialize medicine. That's not the place medicine wants to be. It will destroy medicine. It's all smoke and mirrors now but it will soon become very clear."
Obamacare Facts: Patients Will Be Turned Away
Dr. John O'Connor, owner and director of Red Bank, NJ-based Velocity Chiropractic & Sports Rehabilitation, where he treats a plethora of professional, elite and international athletes, is also unhappy with Obamacare.
"Obamacare will handcuff the amount of care I can provide to my patients," he told Money Morning. "It will restrict the level of service that I can offer patients. That's what managed care does."
Dr. O'Connor said that "If they [the government under Obamacare] cripple us too much, many doctors will not only refuse patients, they will be forced to limit their practice. Under Obamacare, we're being asked to provide the same high-quality services to more patients but with more restrictions and regulations. Plus, we'll be paid less for doing so. Obamacare will take away a big part of our reimbursement. Doctors will be more restrictive with their time and will be forced to run their practices more like a business model."
Meanwhile, according to a survey by physician recruiting firm Jackson Coker, most doctors surveyed think the mega-lobbyist group, the American Medical Association, fails to represent doctors' interests on Capitol Hill. For some 160 years, the AMA has served as the self-appointed chief lobbying group for doctors.
Yet today, the AMA counts only about 17% of doctors as members, Dr. Lospinuso said, leaving doctors to question how the AMA can represent them in Washington while cutting back-door deals with the government and throwing support behind Obamacare.
Most troubling right now, the doctors agree, is that many of the facts about Obamacare's implementation remain murky.
With 33,000 pages of rules and regulations, the Obamacare law is so complex that Dr. O'Connor had to hire a certified healthcare compliance officer to insure that he does not violate any of the bill's requirements, which can trigger hefty fines.
Last year, a provision of Obamacare took effect that places the country's roughly 3,400 acute-care hospitals at risk of getting penalized for excess readmission of Medicare payments. In 2012, some 2,214 hospitals were fined $280 million.
According to federal data, an estimated $227 million in fines will be levied by Medicare against 2,225 hospitals starting in October.
Obamacare Facts: Quality of Care to Suffer
Dr. Glenn Kolansky, a board certified, fellowship-trained dermatology surgeon and owner of Tinton Falls, NJ-based Advanced Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center says he, too, is "Absolutely worried about Obamacare."
"What worries me most is the quality of care patients with wind up with. People who want to see a specialist will be forced to see a physician extender who is not adequately trained. They will miss things an experienced, highly skilled specialist won't miss. For example, tattoo ink can hide melanoma. Extenders are very likely to miss something like that."
"Additionally, all the rules and regulations are costing doctors and their practices a great deal of money. That paperwork, already overwhelming, will only get worse. Obamacare-I'm sick about it," Dr. Kolansky told Money Morning. "Specialists like myself are sick of the end result that will occur-a decrease in the quality of health care."
You see, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, established by Obamacare to oversee the $500 billion in Medicare cuts, voted to impose drastic pay cuts to all doctors under Medicare, and by extension, Medicaid. The cuts will reduce the real pay for specialists by 50% over the next decade, including a 25% reduction over the next three years. Plus, general practitioners' pay will be trimmed by one-third over 10 years (assuming inflation stays below 3%).
The result, the doctors explained, is that many patients (especially high-risk patients) will be turned away. And many people will have to choose between paying their mortgages and going to the doctor.
And here's the real kicker: Those that can afford to pay will be paying more-a great deal more.
Stay "in the know" with these facts about Obamacare: 15 Obamacare Facts the President Doesn't Want You to Know