Throughout the health reform debate, consumers and providers alike have asked how physicians would be affected by the new law. Although there are a number of specific provisions related to physician payment and practice organization in the health reform law, the biggest impact will likely come from the substantial reduction in the number of people without health insurance. In a report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Urban Institute authors Robert Berenson and Stephen Zuckerman examine this impact, among others.
According to the authors, physicians will likely benefit financially as coverage expands—at worst they will be unaffected financially. Although physicians understandably have been focused on the Sustainable Growth Rate policy and its potential for large Medicare fee cuts, many may benefit from the key provisions of health care reform. Expansions in insurance coverage and increases in fees for primary care services will have direct benefits on practice revenues for large numbers of physicians.