A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday shows that only 15 percent of primary care physicians (PCP) support a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act, down from over half who wanted the law scrapped in 2015.
The survey was conducted in December and January among a representative sample of 426 doctors across America in family practice, internal medicine or pediatric or geriatric care. While an overwhelming majority of PCPs want to save Obamacare, nearly three-fourths favor reforming the law in some way.
In that regard, two-thirds of respondents said they support a public option as an alternative to private insurance, while more than half indicated they would like to see the tax penalty repealed for uninsured individuals. However, nearly all support Obamacare’s pre-existing condition requirement, as well as the provision that provides small business health insurance tax credits.
Likewise, 88 percent of America’s practicing primary care doctors favor allowing adult children to stay on their parent’s health plan until age 26.
The study’s author noted that a fatal flaw exists between two of the most popular policy prescriptions physicians favor.
“There is a large gap in support between provisions that allow people to obtain insurance without respect to preexisting conditions and mechanisms for ensuring that both healthy and sick people enroll in coverage,” they wrote. “Policies that do not address adverse selection would lead to increased and unsustainable health insurance costs.”
In other words, if individuals who use healthcare services more often are not allowed to be charged higher insurance premiums, everyone must pay into the system in order for it to remain financially solvent.
One alternative policy reform would be deregulation of the insurance market, which only 42 percent of PCPs support. Going back to the old system prior to the Affordable Care Act would increase the amount of high-deductible health plans offered, a development that less than a third of primary care doctors want to see.
However, 69 percent of PCPs said they would like more patients to participate in health savings accounts, plans that allow enrollees to contribute money tax-free to an insurance fund which can be withdrawn later to pay for medical expenses.
A recently released report by the Congressional Budget Office found that 18 million Americans will lose health coverage within a year — 32 million within the next decade — if Obamacare is repealed but not replaced. Despite the findings, 26 percent of Americans polled after the November presidential election said they still support abolishing the Affordable Care Act.
[Los Angeles Times] [New England Journal of Medicine] [Photo courtesy CNNMoney]