Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009

The Doctors

Doctors face high malpractice-insurance costs and a tort system that encourages them to perform more tests and services rather than fewer in order to avoid lawsuits. Low reimbursement rates have also led to a 30% shortage of primary-care providers nationwide.

What They Like: Loan-forgiveness programs for medical students who go into primary care could ease the shortage there. Reimbursement reforms under discussion could reward doctors for keeping patients healthy rather than paying them based on services provided.

What They Don't Like:
Since the goal of health reform is to lower the cost of health care overall, some doctors could see their incomes drop. A greater focus on prevention efforts, many of which do not require medical intervention, could also leave doctors with less to do — and reduce their pay in the process.