Majority of doctors who voted for Trump oppose complete repeal of ACA: study

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | January 31, 2017
Business Affairs
Most primary care doctors want to keep the Affordable Care act, not repeal it, according to a new survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors, Dr. Craig Evan Pollack, Dr. Katrina Armstrong, and Dr. David Grande – who noted that there is now “substantial uncertainty about the future of U.S. health policy” – found that even pro-Trump doctors differed from the general presidential supporter regarding killing the law.

"Tens of millions of people could be at risk of losing health insurance if critical elements of the Affordable Care Act are repealed. Given the central role physicians play in the health care system, their views of the legislation are important for informing the public debate," said Grande, an assistant professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and director of Policy at Penn's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Of all specialists, PCPs are on the “front lines” – they are the first to see patients in most cases. “With primary care physicians often helping patients navigate challenges with their insurance, it is critical to understand their perspectives on the repeal of the act,” added Pollack, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He went on to note that the survey showed that "by and large, primary care physicians are open to modifications of the law, but believe several aspects of the ACA, with its focus on increasing insurance coverage, are important to patients' health."

The survey asked doctors what they wanted to see policy makers do with the ACA.

In response, just 15.1 percent of PCPs indicated that they wanted the ACA to be repealed in its entirety.

“Responses varied according to the physicians’ self-reported political party affiliation; no Democrats wanted to see the ACA repealed, whereas 32.4 percent of Republicans did. Among physicians who reported voting for Trump, only 37.9 percent wanted the ACA repealed in its entirety. PCPs were less likely than the general public to want the law repealed. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted after the election that used a question and response options similar to those in our survey showed that 26 percent of the general public wants the law repealed in its entirety.”

Instead, the vast majority (73.8 percent) would like to see the law altered – to increase greater consumer choice, like a public option “similar to Medicare” to compete with private plans; to provide tax breaks for the Medicaid eligible to buy private insurance and to make greater use of health savings accounts.

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