Amid the vehemence and vitriol, physicians appear to be diverging along two paths: embracing the court decision with some enthusiasm, or stepping up their political activism in hopes that the presidential election may make a difference. "Now is the time to take back medicine!" the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons roars on its website. "The Supreme Court has ruled and the fight has begun anew. Will it be easy? No. Does it have to be done? Yes."
Along the way, for moderates, liberals, cardiologists, and oncologists, there are loads of uncertainties with reimbursement and regulatory challenges, as well as key issues that the Supreme Court never touched on, such as tort reform and the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which governs the growth of Medicare physician payments annually.
Building a consensus among physicians may be difficult. It's taken years for healthcare leaders to smooth rough edges and improve day-to-day care in hospitals, where physicians are far more comfortable than in the political arena.
Glen Stream, MD, MBI, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, acknowledged to HealthLeaders Media that bridging the gap between physicians with opposing feelingscould be difficult, even within his own organization. "It's a challenge," he says, noting that some of his members are angry over the high court's action as well as the academy's support of the law. "My hope is that the angst of today passes, and we can work together tomorrow to find common ground," Stream says. He adds, "I was pleased to see it upheld. It's not perfect, but we can go forward with the structure it has."