(NaturalNews) Just a few short years ago, Plantation, Fla.-based bankruptcy attorney David Langley did not have even one doctor as a client. But in the years that have followed, Langley has processed at least six bankruptcy cases involving physicians, and is currently working on two bankruptcy cases involving an orthopedic surgeon and an OB/GYN, according to CNNMoney.
Why this sudden increase in primarily private practice debacles? A changing healthcare environment prompted by the incremental installment of Obamacare is one major factor causing doctors to go belly-up all across the country, say experts. Other factors include decreasing insurance reimbursements, ever-rising medical malpractice insurance costs, and more expensive drugs, all of which are making it increasingly difficult for American doctors to survive.
As we have been saying here at NaturalNews for quite some time now, the so-called "healthcare" industry, at least as we currently know it, is really more of a sick-care industry driven by a highly unsustainable profit model. The costs associated with drugs, surgeries, and medical equipment, for instance, continue to skyrocket, and fraudulent insurance billing practices have only made the problem worse.
Economy woes driving many doctors out of practice
But a much more serious issue in recent years appears to be the flailing economy, which many doctors are reporting has caused them to lose half or more of their patients. Many former patients who lost their jobs in recent years also lost their health insurance coverage, which has resulted in many of them being no longer able to pay for medical care, even if they need it. Consequently, many doctors have had to downsize their practices.
But even this is not enough for the hundreds, or even thousands, of doctors who have since struggled just to keep their doors open. As evidenced by the comment sections on articles discussing the issue, loss of patients has resulted in loss of staff, which for many doctors has ended in their practices having to be completely shut down.
"In 2008, my clinic lost 50 percent of our Account Receivables from patients," commented one doctor on a CNNMoney piece. "Many patients lost their insurance and their jobs when the economy went into a recession, (and) it became worse in 2009. We had to downsize and never recovered. In 2010, the clinic which used to employ 25 people ... and treat over 5,000 patients a year closed."
Another commenter, a former patient, recollects how his own doctor was forced into bankruptcy two years ago. He explains how the doctor was unable to meet even the minimum pay threshold he needed to stay in business, and thus had to close the practice. This same commenter also notes that under Obamacare, "it will only get worse."
"The reimbursements continue to fall," writes one bankrupted doctor. "Obamacare payments will be similar to Medicaid which is bankrupting most doctors."
Some doctors simply do not know how to run their business
On the flip side, poor business practices may also be to blame for many doctors' practices failing. According to Dr. Kevin Pho, M.D., private practice medicine is small business, and small business can fail if it is not run correctly. Many private practice doctors excel at treating patients but are poor business managers, which means they are just as prone to failure as any other small business.
"Private practice medicine is running a small business," writes Dr. Pho. "And if it's managed poorly, it will go bankrupt, like any other business."