Doctors Will Quit if Obama-Care Becomes LawMarch 17th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
NOTE: I’ve left my original post intact below, but the New England Journal of Medicine is now distancing themselves from this survey and content. As of this morning they had posted two detailed articles about the results of a survey conducted by The Medicus Firm. They have now removed the two articles and instead are linking to The Medicus Firms’ website for information about the survey. The NEJM now says: “The opinions expressed in the article linked to above represent those of The Medicus Firm only. That article does not represent the opinions of the New England Journal of Medicine or the Massachusetts Medical Society.”
I still find the survey interesting, but now it’s harder to know how closely this survey mirrors the opinions of doctors across the country. Maybe Rasmussen will pick up these same questions and do a new survey for us.
Let me start with a personal story. I good friend of mine was seeing a doctor in Kansas City this last summer. The doctor is a specialist and widely considered among the best in his field in the country. The doctor told my friend that he was working on his MBA, and would be leaving medicine if Obama-Care passed.
One of the complaints among opponents about this massive healthcare reform bill is that it will drive doctors away from medicine. And even though I knew of a personal story about a doctor who was already planning to leave medicine, it’s been difficult for me to tell how much of this was rhetoric, and how much of it was legitimate. Until now.
In a new article from the New England Journal of Medicine, they report that a recent survey shows that “46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.”
See the full story here in the NEJM. And here is a quick overview of the key findings. (NOTE: These links used to take you to the two articles on NEMJ’s website, but now take you to information where they explain that it wasn’t their survey.)
Here are a few of the comments that stuck out to me:
Physicians agree that healthcare reform is needed. Only 3.6% of physicians prefer the “status quo” and feel that the U.S. health care system is best “as is”.
Only 28.7% of physicians are in favor of a public option.
62.7% of physicians feel that health reform is needed but should be implemented in a more targeted, gradual way, as opposed to the sweeping overhaul that is in legislation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics “predicts a more than a 22 percent increase in physician jobs during the ten-year period ending in 2018. This places physician careers in the top 20 fastest-growing occupations from 2008 to 2018. Meanwhile, nearly one-third of physicians responding to the survey indicated that they will want to leave medical practice after health reform is implemented.”
“What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer,” said Steve Marsh, managing partner at The Medicus Firm in Dallas. “The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients.”
Let me put it this way — doctors understand that we need healthcare reform. But they already know what it’s like for the federal government to get their hooks into health care. And they don’t want any more of it. They deal with Medicare every day. And they watch as Canadians come to the U.S. because they’re unable to receive high-quality of care in a reasonable amount of time in Canada.
Tags: Health Care