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Doctor Shuts Practice in Obamacare Protest

By    |   Monday, 22 Sep 2014 08:10 AM

An Alaska plastic surgeon has closed his practice of 38 years blaming the Affordable Care Act and other federal programs for making running a private medical practice "unsustainable,"  The Daily Caller reported.

William Wennen wrote his patients that he is shutting down his Fairbanks office because he is losing money due to Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare. "It is an unsustainable system," Wennen's notice said according to the Daily Caller. "I am personally writing off upwards of three quarters of a million dollars annually in free/uncompensated care."

The economic pressures make it too difficult to carry on. "The governmental agencies that are supplying 'medical insurance' to the elderly, the disadvantaged, the indigent and the sick, injured, or disabled have placed an unrealistically low value of worth on physician's services," he wrote.

Wennen added: "Within the last month, Fairbanks has lost three other much respected physicians for the same or similar reasons. I am not the first and certainly will not be the last of the exodus of physicians from active practice because of all of this," the Daily Caller reported.

He said he would try to find another way to stay on in medicine after he closes his practice.
Doctors have long criticized levels of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. Patients in some areas have said it was difficult to find private practitioners willing to take treat them on Medicaid or Medicare, the Daily Caller reported.

Alaska is grappling with rate hikes for those turning to the federally operated online marketplace. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield is raising premiums by 37 percent, yet is still expected to lose $5 million in 2015. Moda Health will hike its rates by 27 percent, the Daily Caller reported.

Some 10,000 state residents receive federal subsidies, but the hikes will impact mostly the 6,000 Alaskans who get no subsidies, News Miner reported.

The president's signature healthcare plan has been a key issue in Alaska's race for the U.S. Senate with Republican challenger Dan Sullivan running a strong campaign against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich who voted for the Affordable Care Act, the Daily Caller reported.

A survey by the Physicians Foundation found that older doctors are more dissatisfied with Obamacare than those under 45. Some 50.8 percent of veteran doctors give the Affordable Care Act a "D" or "F."

In contrast, 37 percent of younger physicians give the law a poor grade while 63 percent grading Obamacare "C" or higher. Changes in the healthcare system may lead 39 percent of doctors to speed-up their plans to retire. The survey also found that more and more younger physicians are leaving private practice with just 17 percent of physicians currently in solo practice.

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An Alaska plastic surgeon has closed his practice of 38 years blaming the Affordable Care Act and other federal programs for making running a private medical practice unsustainable, The Daily Caller reported. William Wennen wrote his patients that he is shutting down his...
doctor, obamacare, shuts, practice
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2014-10-22
Monday, 22 Sep 2014 08:10 AM
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