Although politicians on the Hill and in state legislatures continue to debate the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, one large constituent group believes the law is a "step forward": healthcare providers. A study conducted by Mortenson Construction surveyed 190 respondents. While most feel the law is not perfect (86 percent believe it needs major changes or revisions), nine in 10 believe it's a move in the right direction. Additionally, 71 percent believe it will improve quality and another 65 percent say it will cut costs. The results echo another survey of industry executives, of which a majority believes healthcare will improve by 2020.
Although the majority of states are dependent on the federal government's health insurance plan (found on HealthCare.gov), 14 states have set up their own insurance exchanges. However, the quality and rollout of these exchanges have varied greatly — a fact that has become more apparent as the enrollment deadline nears. For example, while California reports that enrollment has already exceeded its projections, other states, like Oregon, just got their enrollment websites up-and-running a couple of weeks ago. But despite setbacks and inconsistencies, many pundits believe these 14 state exchanges will function better than the federally run program.
With hospital systems across the country seeing their Medicare reimbursements tied to physician performance, many systems have been buying physician groups or switching to provider employment models in an effort to ensure ongoing success. However, while the hope is that this will pay off in the end, health systems are reporting financial losses in the short-term when it comes to expanding their workforces. "Health system leaders hope that employed physicians will increase efficiency by coordinating care for patients, helping to avoid the costs associated with unnecessary or avoidable procedures. That model might work for value-based contracts, but hospital revenue is still largely generated from performing procedures, not preventing them," Modern Healthcare reports. Many of the systems that reported losses in 2013 attributed it to physician employment.