TO REPEAT: DOCTORS COULD HANG IT UP

March 18, 2010

Last September an Investor's Business Daily (IBD)/TIPP Poll showed 45 percent of doctors would consider leaving medicine if a health care takeover passed.  A new poll has vindicated those findings, says IBD. 

The IBD/TIPP questionnaire went out Aug. 28 to some 25,600 doctors nationwide; of that substantial sample, there were 1,476 responses: 

  • One hundred of those were retired, leaving 1,376.
  • Of the physicians queried, 45 percent said they'd consider closing their practice or retiring early if the overhaul then being considered were enacted.
  • Also, 65 percent said they opposed the government's attempts at taking over the health care system.
  • Just 33 percent supported it. 

Given that the White House and Congress both promised then -- as they do now -- to provide health care coverage for 31 million new patients while at the same time cutting costs from the $2.4 trillion a year we spend on medical care, the poll reveals that doctors won't go along with it, says IBD: 

  • Of the 800,000 physicians practicing in the United States in 2006, as many as 360,000 might leave the profession.
  • So with the proposed overhaul, we'd be trying to cover 31 million more patients with up to 45 percent fewer doctors. 

Impossible.  It can't be done, says IBD. 

Critics attacked the poll as untrustworthy, however, a new poll vindicates the IBD/TIPP findings of last summer, says IBD.  This poll, conducted by the Medicus Firm, a physician search and consulting outfit, found: 

  • Some 29.2 percent of the nearly 1,200 doctors it queried said they would quit or retire early if a health overhaul were passed into law.
  • That number jumped to 45.7 percent -- nearly identical to the IBD/TIPP number -- if a public option were included. 

"Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases," wrote Kevin Perpetua, managing partner of the Medicus Firm, summing up his findings. 

In the end, it's clear: A health care overhaul, as it's now being pushed, could lead to a precipitous drop in the number of doctors, says IBD. 

Source: Editorial, "To Repeat: Doctors Could Hang It Up," Investor's Business Journal, March 18, 2010. 

For text:

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=527698  

For IBD/TIPP poll:

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=506199

 

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