News with clear eyes. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

Doctors think the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) could make life harder for patients without doing much to improve their own professional lives.

Analysts at the Deloite Center for Health Care Solutions, Washington, an arm of Deloitte Development L.L.C., recently commissioned a survey of 501 doctors to gauge their views on PPACA.

Yesterday, I did another article based on the Deloitte survey suggesting that many doctors give the current U.S. health care system low grades.

It doesn’t look as if the doctors think PPACA will turn the U.S. health care system into an A student.

About 44% of the doctors surveyed said they think PPACA could encourage patients to live healthier lifestyles, and 38% said they think the law could enhance the balance between primary care and general medicine.

But the doctors were much more likely to say they expect negative results: 73% said they think PPACA will swamp primary care practices, and that overflow from the primary care practices into hospital emergency rooms will swamp the emergency rooms.

Another 68% said they expect to see longer emergency room wait times, and 50% said they expected to see decreased access to hospital are due to hospital closures.

Only 27% said they think PPACA will reduce health care costs by increasing the efficiency of doctors and hospitals, and just 16% said they think the law will make it easier to practice medicine.

BAD BRUINS

The University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center has increased prices for enrollees in plans run by Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, 98% since mid-2006.

Paul Markovich, the chief operating officer of California Blue Shield, has included that statistic in a letter criticizing UCLA Medical Center efforts to join with other University of California system hospitals to negotiate a new contract.

UCLA should “curtail its relentless rate increases,” Markovich says in a letter that California Blue Shield is distributing along with a press release.

UCLA hospital charges are about 41% higher than the Southern California average, and the hospital has a 15% profit margin, Markovich says.

California Blue Shield has agreed to cap its profit margin of just 2%, Markovich says.

GOOD WORKS

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, Walut Creek, Calif., says it recruited 4,157 volunteers for the volunteer week that took place in October, and that those volunteers worked for about 14,850 hours on projects in 18 states.