Docs worried sick over ObamaCare
By Carl Campanile
October 18, 2013 | 1:15am
Doctors Donald Moore (left) and Sam Unterricht are among physicians worried they'll be "left holding the bag" by Obama's health plan
New York doctors are feeling queasy about ObamaCare — and many won’t participate in the new national insurance program because they fear they’ll go broke, The Post has learned.
“ObamaCare is going to send me more patients to see and then cut the payments to provide the care — that’s what’s going to happen,” predicted Donald Moore, a primary-care doctor in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. “I will not accept it.”
Moore claims that President Obama made a big mistake by requiring uninsured residents to obtain medical coverage from for-profit insurers through the ObamaCare health exchanges instead of through public health programs like Medicaid.
Under tremendous pressure to keep costs down and profits up, Moore said he’s concerned that commercial insurers will pay doctors less for patient visits and services than either Medicaid or Medicare.
Many doctors, he argues, won’t be able to cover their costs with such skimpy fees.
Moore scoffed, “Who’s going to sustain the losses? The insurance companies? It’s basically going to be a race to the bottom.”
Despite a much publicized rollout, many other doctors said they haven’t decided whether to become ObamaCare providers, because they haven’t been notified by insurers or the state about reimbursement rates.
“I have not spoken with anyone who has made a decision to participate in the exchanges. We simply don’t have any information about which we can make a decision,” said Dr. Paul Orloff, president of the New York County Medical Society.
“We have no idea what the reimbursements will be or what the claims-form process will entail.”
The Medical Society of New York State is conducting a survey of doctor concerns about the program and asking whether they will accept patients who buy policies.
“There’s a real question about how many doctors will participate. Doctors are concerned about being left holding the bag,” said Sam Unterricht, an ophthalmologist and the president of the state medical society.
The clumsy launch of ObamaCare in New York and elsewhere — with computer glitches and sketchy information — worries the medical community, he said.
“It’s really shaky right now,” Unterricht said.
Spooked about the payments they’ll receive under ObamaCare, other doctors said they’ve stopped hiring staff for their medical practices.
“I’m apprehensive. I’m certainly not hiring anyone new,” said James Reilly, an obstetrician who has delivered 4,000 babies and heads the Richmond County Medical Society.
“We want to see the impact on the bottom line,” said Reilly, who has a 12-member staff and pays a hefty $200,000 annual medical-malpractice insurance premium.
A spokesman for Emblem Health said a payment plan is in place for medical providers who are part of its ObamaCare plans.
The state Health Department says more than 100,000 individuals have completed applications on the health-exchange Web site, healtbenefitexchange.ny.gov, and were deemed eligible for the new medical plans.
The enrollment period for individuals in New York runs through March 31, and coverage begins as early as Jan. 1.
Each insurer in the exchange offers different levels of coverage and deductibles — Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.