Healthcare reform impact 'uncertain', according to physicians group

April 23, 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a monumental step toward providing Americans with affordable coverage, but there are uncertainties, according to the American College of Physicians.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is "a monumental step toward providing Americans with affordable coverage," but it is uncertain whether the new law will ensure sufficient numbers of primary care physicians or reduce costs, according to an analysis of the legislation by the American College of Physicians (ACP).

"The health reform law is a work in progress, not the end of the story," writes Robert B. Doherty, ACP's senior vice president of governmental affairs in a paper published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Population growth and aging will increase the workloads of family physicians and general internists by 29 percent between 2005 and 2025, Doherty writes. Over time, he notes, the reform may help increase the availability of primary care clinicians, but the long training pipeline means that it will be at least four years before there will be an appreciable difference.