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January 25, 2012

Physician Autonomy and Health Care Reform

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Dr Emanuel); and Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment, Boston (Dr Pearson).

JAMA. 2012;307(4):367-368. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.19

Many physicians are distressed as they look toward the future. A recent survey of physicians reported that 65% thought the quality of health care will deteriorate in the future.1 Part of this malaise is driven by concerns that reforms contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will further erode physicians' autonomy.

On the contrary, the ACA has provisions that will mitigate the long-standing concern that payers determine what physicians can and cannot do and will instead enhance the role and authority of the medical profession. However, this possibility can only occur if physicians leverage the opportunities to shape and ensure effective implementation of new payment models proposed in the ACA.

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