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Arizona doctors worried about their future

On the day when the Supreme Court decision on the president’s health care act is expected, doctors have something on their minds.

They’re worried about going out of business.

A new survey by MDLinx said 17 percent of all doctors with a private practice can foresee closing within a year if their financial situation doesn’t improve.

One problem is insurance.

“The reimbursement system is not consistent with the amount of work that they do and the expenses that they have,” said Dr. Sam Benjamin of 92.3 KTAR’s “Primary Care” show.

“The expenses are creeping up dramatically because of both government regulations and insurance requirements.”

Doctors said they’re also struggling with costly malpractice insurance and significant school debt.

“There is no way, in an economy that’s failed, and with the increase in costs of medical equipment, supplies, drugs, et cetera, that physicians can survive and actually see an increase in their revenues,” said Benjamin.

Some things have simply had to change, even in his own practice, Benjamin said.

“I certainly would have had difficulties, but decided to join a group and shift the focus of the kind of care that I was doing,” he said.

“Care that is not insurance-based anymore. Without that, I believe it would have signaled my total inability to carry a practice in the years to come.”

Benjamin foresees a day when there will be fewer doctors and more nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants for primary health care. He also anticipates longer wait times at the doctor’s office.