Health Care Is Inexorably Changing

by Larry Emmott on November 20, 2011

in Health Care Politics

From the New York Times

From Colorado to Maryland, hospitals are scrambling to buy hospitals. Doctors are leaving small private practices. Large insurance companies are becoming more dominant as smaller ones disappear because they cannot stay competitive.

via Health Care Is Inexorably Changing, Despite Legal Uncertainty – NYTimes.com.

If you click to the full article you will see it is about various changes to the healthcare system that are being driven by the pending Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) often called Obamacare. These changes are happening despite uncertainty about the final regulations or even the constitutionality of the law which the Supreme Court will review next year.

However the line which caught my attention was this: Doctors are leaving small private practices.

Is that a good thing? Is it an unintended consequence? (Some cynics might argue it is an intended consequence.)

So far dentistry has escaped much of the fallout from the law and most dentists (80%) are still solo practitioners.

Some additional thoughts or actually some questions:

  • If PPACA forces physicians to abandon private practice for large groups will that improve the quality of care and enhance the doctor patient relationship?
  • With the most successful experienced doctors choosing to retire rather than deal with PPACA who will be available to treat the aging Boomer population?
  • Will the best and the brightest still be attracted to medicine and dentistry as a career?
  • Will high quality American physicians and dentists look to alternative opportunities and possibly leave the country?

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