BOSTON—Nearly 60 percent of physicians ages 40 and younger don't hold out much hope for American healthcare, according to results of an online survey released by the Physicians' Foundation.
Among the 500 respondents, nearly a third (31 percent) said they were "highly pessimistic" about the future of the U.S. healthcare system. Another 26 percent characterized themselves as "somewhat" pessimistic.
Only one in five see a brighter side -- just 4 percent said they were "highly optimistic," and 18 percent claimed to be "somewhat" optimistic.
About a third of those who were pessimistic (34 percent) specifically cited the "new healthcare law/regulations" as the reason. But that proportion would come closer to half if those who provided responses such as "system is a mess," "distrust of government," "government intervention," and "Medicare is a mess and will only get worse" are added in.
In fact, when asked specifically how the Affordable Care Act will impact their practice, 49 percent of all respondents -- those optimistic about the future of healthcare as well as the pessimists -- said the ACA will have a negative impact.
Nearly a quarter, though, said it would have a positive effect.
Even among the optimists, there was a decided sense of negativism -- 10 percent said they were optimistic because things couldn't get any worse.
In addition to concerns about the ACA, burdensome regulations and malpractice insurance premiums were also mentioned by respondents as reasons for pessimism, along with declining reimbursement and increasing costs.