This article provides a very succinct summary of how the ACA (Obamacare) will affect employers, physicians and ultimately workers/patients. This legislation has some salient features that were long overdue such as dependents being able to stay on parent’s insurance until age 26 and no consideration for pre-existing conditions. However, this comes at a HUGE price both financially and via further government mandates which single handedly is eroding the quality of healthcare in the United States. As more people have obtained health insurance under the ACA, they are finding that access to care, especially high quality specialty care, is more restricted than ever. This will continue to be the case as the mandates mature and take full effect over the next few years. With costs shifting to employers and healthcare providers, and deductibles climbing, basic economic principles will eventually lead to physicians dropping more health plans, if not ALL health plans, rendering your high premium, high deductible health plans useless except in cases of major emergencies. Using out-of network providers can mitigate some of these downsides ONLY if the provider understands the benefits and the system and is willing to work with patients for high quality, value-oriented, patient-centered healthcare. Using these benefits also allows the provider and patient to make the decisions needed to provide the best personalized care for the specific patient needs. Using these benefits int he wrong way will lead to unexpected costs so it is important for transparency on costs from the provider. The ACA will affect all of us in some way, at some point. Although congress never read the bill before they passed it and the ramifications were never known (and continue to be unknown), patients must demand that only they, in conjunction with their healthcare provider, determine the best course of treatment for any given illness or injury.

It is a new era in US Medical care and those of us in the medical community only hope that our government eventually realize that they cannot get involved in healthcare without disaster (see VA medical care to our most honorable citizens).