Background and objectives: The United States is in an unprecedented era of health care reform that is pushing medical professionals and medical educators to evaluate the future of their patients, careers, and the field of medicine. Our objectives were to describe physician familiarity and knowledge with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to determine if knowledge is associated with support and endorsement of the ACA.
Methods: We used a cross-sectional Internet-based survey of 559 physicians practicing in California. Primary outcomes were physician support and endorsement of ACA: (1) overall impact on the country (one item) and (2) perceived impact on physician's medical practice (one item). The primary predictor was knowledge of the ACA as measured with 10 questions. Other measures included age, gender, race-ethnicity, specialty, political views, provision of direct care, satisfaction with the practice of medicine, and compensation type. Descriptive statistics and multiple variable regression models were calculated.
Results: Respondents were 65% females, and the mean age was 54 years (+/- 9.7). Seventy-seven percent of physicians understood the ACA somewhat well/very well, and 59% endorsed the ACA, but 36% of physicians believed that health care reform will most likely hurt their practice. Primary care physicians were more likely to perceive that the new law will help their practice, compared to procedural specialties. Satisfaction with the practice of medicine, political affiliation, compensation type, and more knowledge of the health care law were independently associated with endorsement of the ACA.
Conclusions: Endorsement of the ACA varied by specialty, knowledge, and satisfaction with the practice of medicine.