Health Reform

Physician perceptions of the ACA

What do physicians thing about the ACA? How have these opinions changed over time? These are the questions that a paper by Riordan et al. (2019) in Health Affairs. The authors surveyed physiicans in both 2012 and 2017 and found that the share of physicians who thought the ACA was good for health care increased from 42% in 2012 to 53% in 2017. The share of physicians that thought that ACA made reimbursement less fair decreased from 44% to 34%.

However, not all aspects of the ACA were perceived as positive by physicians.

Physicians reported worsening practice conditions over the five-year period, including in terms of the amount of time spent on administrative issues related to insurance (67 percent), amount of time available to spend with each patient (59 percent), ability to recruit or retain clinical staff (42 percent), and time spent managing patients’ opioid use (34 percent).

The strongest predictor of whether a physician supports the ACA was not age or specialty, but–perhaps unsurprisingly–party affiliation.


  • Lindsay Riordan, Rahma Warsame, Sarah Jenkins, Kandace Lackore, Joel E. Pacyna, Ryan M. Antiel, Timothy Beebe, Mark Liebow, Bjorg Thorsteinsdottir, Matthew Wynia, Susan Dorr Goold, Matthew DeCamp, Marion Danis, and Jon Tilburt, US Physicians’ Reactions To ACA Implementation, 2012–17. Health Affairs 2019 38:9, 1530-1536 


  1. I found the most interesting statistic in this article was the amount of time physicians reported they spent on administrative issues related to insurance—an astounding 67%! That alone is a strong indictment of the private insurance industry and a considerable argument for single-payer healthcare.

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