Nearly 1/3 of Docs Could Leave Medicine if Health-Care Reform Passed

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  1. profile image0
    Poppa Bluesposted 13 years ago

    And that is just the beginning! … mpact.aspx

    Nearly One-Third of Doctors Could Leave Medicine if Health-Care Reform Bill Passes, According to Survey Reported in New England Journal of Medicine
    Tuesday, March 16, 2010
    By Christopher Neefus

    Doctors meet with President Obama to discuss Meidcare and health-reform legislation. (AP photo)( - Nearly one-third of all practicing physicians may leave the medical profession if President Obama signs current versions of health-care reform legislation into law, according to a survey published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The survey, which was conducted by the Medicus Firm, a leading physician search and consulting firm based in Atlanta and Dallas, found that a majority of physicians said health-care reform would cause the quality of American medical care to “deteriorate” and it could be the “final straw” that sends a sizeable number of doctors out of medicine.

    More than 29 percent (29.2) percent of the nearly 1,200 doctors who responded to the survey said they would quit the profession or retire early if health reform legislation becomes law. If a public option were included in the legislation, as several liberal Senators have indicated they would like, the number would jump to 45.7 percent.

    The medical journal published the results in its March and April edition, saying: “While a sudden loss of half of the nations physicians seems unlikely, a very dramatic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality as an unexpected side effect of health reform.”

    Kevin Perpetua, managing partner for the Medicus Firm, reported that a reform bill could be “the final straw” in an already financially precarious industry.

    “Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases,” Perpetua said in the study. “The overwhelming prediction from physicians is that health reform, if implemented inappropriately, could create a detrimental combination of circumstances, and result in an environment in which it is not possible for most physicians to continue practicing medicine.”

    “With an average debt of $140,000, and many graduates approaching a quarter of a million dollars in school loans, being a doctor is becoming less and less feasible,” Perpetua said. “Health-care reform and increasing government control of medicine may be the final straw that causes the physician workforce to break down.”

    The survey shows that many doctors already find their situations difficult:

    -- 36 percent said that they would not recommend medicine as a profession to others, regardless of whether health-care reform passes;
    -- another 27 percent would still recommend medicine as a career, but not if the current reform proposal passes.

    In total, 63 percent of doctors would not recommend the profession after health-care reform passes. Just 12 percent do not recommend becoming a physician now but think they would if current reform proposals pass.

    Primary-care physicians, those who work in the critical fields of family and internal medicine, not only feel that they would want to quit but that they might be cast out of medicine. 46.3 percent of those physicians said that they would either want to leave medicine or that they would be “forced out” by the changes to the system.

    Despite all the opposition to the bill as it stands, only a little more than 3 percent of respondents said the status quo was best, with the vast majority (62.7 percent) saying they believe changes are needed.

    The same 62.7 percent said they wanted reforms made, but that they “should be implemented in a more targeted, gradual way, as opposed to the sweeping overhaul that is in (the) legislation.”

    Andrea Santiago, a spokeswoman for the Medicus Firm, said those numbers were the most striking.

    “Please allow me to emphasize that 96 percent of the physicians surveyed in our report are in favor of health reform, in some form or fashion,” she told in an e-mail. “To me, the fact that so many physicians surveyed want health reform, but relatively few are in favor of the current legislation, was one of the most significant, telling results.”

    Congressional Democratic leaders, meanwhile, have said that doctors favor the bill and are part of an “unprecedented coalition” of doctors rooting for its passage. The claim is based on the American Medical Association’s endorsement of the legislation in Congress.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 there were 661,400 physicians and surgeons within the United States. Of that number, 250,000 are members of the American Medical Association (AMA) -- and nearly 100,000 of those are medical students.

    Santiago explained the AMA could not claim to represent all doctors, nor perhaps could any other group, and said the potentially massive shortage of physicians has stayed largely out of the debate because public figures have been trying to speak for doctors instead of speaking to them.

    “I think the reason it hasn’t become a big issue in the political debate is maybe because no one else has really thought about the effects of health reform on the physician workforce. Or, maybe people didn’t want to think about it, but as recruiters we can’t help but think about it and take notice,” she said.

    “If you are not talking to physicians every day about their career plans, it may not occur to someone that it would even be an issue.  Plus, many public figures, media, and organizations are speaking for doctors in professional associations and groups, proclaiming ‘doctors want this.’ Without surveying each and every doctor, no one can claim that all doctors want this particular version of health reform, including us.”

    Santiago said one problem with a comprehensive bill was all the uncertainty about its effects that comes along with it.

    “When you’re on the phone with doctors each and every day, discussing their career plans, like we are as recruiters, you start to notice hot-buttons that are related to their career decisions, and health reform was increasingly and repeatedly coming up as an issue that was causing doctors apprehension when making career plans,” Santiago explained.

    “Many seemed frustrated by it.  Part of it, I think, is fear of the unknown -- the current health reform bill is so large and all-encompassing, no one really knows for sure what will happen when/if this bill passes, so how does a physician make major career decisions when so much is hanging in the balance?”

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Poppa Blues, just the facts, please!

  2. KeithTax profile image73
    KeithTaxposted 13 years ago

    This is just more scare tactics by people politically motivated. If there are a third fewer doctors, health care costs would colapse, so their argument only encourages what they are fighting against.

    Medicare is reducing payments to doctors for certain procedures. Some doctors are complaining, but few will quit.

    I deal with health care issues in my office every day. I have a large practice with doctors. We discuss health care reform and the various bills that have floated around Washington over the last year. None of the doctors plan on quitting no matter what bill is passed.

    I wish common sense would prevail instead of all the misinformation campaigns.

    1. profile image0
      Poppa Bluesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I suppose you could argue with the numbers, but really, scare tactics? This was published by a respected medical journal, the study conducted by a job search firm.

      I too have many doctors in my family, one even heads a surgical department at the Mayo Clinic and a number of my relatives are doctors in Pittsburgh and Virgina areas. I also speak to my own doctors regarding the issue. The fact is many are already leaving the practice. My GP told me of a friend of his that left his -practice and went into law as a consultant for malpractice suits. He could no longer afford to practice between the low payouts and the high medical malpractice rates.

      In any case, your claim that prices would collapse makes no sense what so ever. Less doctors means higher demand for the remaining doctors which translates to higher prices, but then, maybe that's the next step in the Obama plan, to limit doctor's salaries.

  3. Ralph Deeds profile image70
    Ralph Deedsposted 13 years ago

    WASHINGTON — House Democrats, gearing up for a possible vote on Sunday to pass health care legislation, pledged that the details they were about to publish would produce significant cost savings in the decades ahead.

    The House Democratic leader, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had determined that the package of legislation would produce “the largest deficit reduction of any bill we have adopted in Congress since 1993,” when it passed President Clinton’s budget proposal including substantial tax increases.

    In the first ten years, the legislation would reduce deficits by $130 billion, Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the House majority whip, said after a meeting of the party’s caucus. The effect on deficits over the following decade would be much greater, a total of $1.2 trillion, he said. The savings would come largely from reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, with new fees and tax increases also contributing. … th.html?hp

  4. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 13 years ago

    Doctors are people. People are always afraid of change even when the need for it is obvious. When reality dawns and it doesn't have two heads, things are different.

  5. karobi profile image66
    karobiposted 13 years ago

    I have follow this issue of health care bill since the incession, the comment and concern that a lot of people show is all bore out of fear, the fear of the unknown. like this one now that a lot of doctors are going to leave, now question is, are going to leave to where? pls the interest of few people should not overide the interest a nation as a whole.

  6. Ralph Deeds profile image70
    Ralph Deedsposted 13 years ago

    Just in from NPR:

    So how much is the rejiggered version of health care overhaul going to run us?

    Try $940 billion over the first 10 years, according to information coming from House Democrats this morning.

    The Congressional Budget Office has apparently finished tallying up the overhaul figures, though as of this moment the analysis hasn't been released publicly.

    First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to preview the CBO's findings to House Democrats. Then we should see the analysis for ourselves.

    For now, here's what else we know. The revised plan would reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the 10 years ending in 2019. In the next decade, it would cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

    Democrats say the plan would also help Medicare by reducing waste and keeping the whole program afloat for at least nine more years. Overhaul would also trim annual growth in Medicare spending by 1.4 percentage points per year.

    Even so, a plug for the "doughnut hole" in the Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors is still part of the package.

    And finally, the plan would still extend health coverage to about 32 million American.

    For comparison, recall that the CBO recently revised the tab for the Senate version of health overhaul--putting the figure at $875 billion over the first decade rather than $829 billion, as first estimated.

    The administration has pledged to keep overhaul costs under $1 trillion, and the preview of the CBO estimate indicates that's still on track, even with the changes made to attract more Democrats' support. … o_how.html

    1. profile image0
      Poppa Bluesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Only in government can they claim to save billions by spending trillions!

      Come on, we ALL know that the cost estimates will turn out to be woefully short of reality. Just name one time when government actually estimated the cost of anything accurately!

      Remember the Iraq war, that was estimated to cost 250 billion. How much have we far????

  7. Pandoras Box profile image60
    Pandoras Boxposted 13 years ago

    This is false.

    Media Matters for America contacted the New England Journal of Medicine, which confirmed it neither conducted nor published the "survey."

    NEJM spokesperson Jennifer Zeis told Media Matters that the study had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research." She also made clear that the study "was not published by the New England Journal of Medicine," and said that "we are taking steps to clarify the source of the survey."

    The "report" that right-wing media are citing actually appeared in Recruiting Physicians Today, which is an employment newsletter produced by "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine." According to Zeis, that report actually "was written by the Medicus Firm," the medical recruitment firm that conducted the "survey."..............

    ...........So, in sum, the right-wing media has seized upon what appears to be essentially a promotional document from a physician recruitment firm in order to argue that health care reform will cause physician recruitment and retention problems in the future.

    Full story at

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Pandora. Another lie courtesy of the righwing cretins.

      1. Ron Montgomery profile image60
        Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I AM SHOCKED!

        They're usually so honest.

    2. profile image0
      Poppa Bluesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That's good information but I don't think you can claim the report is false based upon a technicality can you? The magazine that published it was owned by the New England Journal of Medicine!

      The "report" that right-wing media are citing actually appeared in Recruiting Physicians Today, which is an employment newsletter produced by "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine."

      1. Pandoras Box profile image60
        Pandoras Boxposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Well, what should be understand about the report by the physicians recruiting publication is that it's biased. Physicians Recruiting is in the business of recruiting doctors. If they put out a report that makes it seem like finding doctors willing to work is about to get tougher, they get more business.

        What's also telling is that Fox and other reporters of this piece chose to pretend it was the much more respectable and unbiased New England Journal of Medicine.

        And from what I understand the method of the study itself hasn't been released either, despite requests.

  8. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 13 years ago

    Nice piece of research, Ralph.

    1. profile image0
      Poppa Bluesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah so discount the whole study based upon a technical error. This is typical of the left. The New England Journal Of Medicine is also the publisher of the magazine the article appeared in. Oh, but let's ignore THAT fact!

      1. Pandoras Box profile image60
        Pandoras Boxposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        It's not though. The publisher of the NEJM is the same publisher of the Physicians Recruiting. Important difference there.

    2. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Pandora's Box deserves the credit.

  9. profile image0
    Poppa Bluesposted 13 years ago

    Notice the "fact check" didn't argue with the study at all, but where it was published!

    Notice too how you and your lefty friends discount the whole article based upon that error. Right away you change the discussion from the study to the "truth" of the report all without discussing the report itself or what's in it!

    This is how the left justifies everything they do, by creating diversions with one hand so no one can see what the other hand is doing.

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      You reported inacurately to the participants in this forum that the survey was conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine which is much more credible than the actual source of the survey. Shame on you, Poppa.

      1. Doug Hughes profile image60
        Doug Hughesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Wingnuts have no shame. Lies are their stock in trade.

  10. Doug Hughes profile image60
    Doug Hughesposted 13 years ago

    This 'poll' smells like swiftboating. For those of you unfamiiar with the tactic, it means introducing a set of lies so late in a campaign that the victim has no chanc to factually rebutt the accusation. Health care will be voted on (and passed) this weeekend. Suddenly there's a 'poll' reportedly in the New England Journal of Medicine - that the Journal knows nothing about...

    There was a poll done in the New England Journal of Medcine in October 2009 of physicians opinions on health care - and I quote

    "Of 2135 practicing Massachusetts physicians who responded to the poll, 70% said they support the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law, whereas 13% oppose it (see Table 1). The levels of support among primary care doctors and among specialists were similar. When asked about the law’s future, 75% indicated that they want the law to remain in place — 46% with some changes, and 29% as is. Seven percent favored repealing the legislation."

    (I can prove my NEJM article is not bogus...)

    The MA plan is similar in many ways to the national plan - mandating coverage for one thing - and it's popular. It was signed into law by Mitt Romney (R) supported by Scott Brown - now Senator Scott Brown - the teabagger who won in the Senatorial special election....

    The main difference is that national health care is being introduced by a democratic congress and president and the GOP will stop at nothng to see the opposition fail. And at a national level, the legislation has been opposed with large contributions to the GOP by the medical insurance industry.

    1. Pandoras Box profile image60
      Pandoras Boxposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Good point about the swift-boating. This report came out like 3 months ago from what I understand, but Fox is reporting it like it's news.

  11. MikeNV profile image68
    MikeNVposted 13 years ago

    To the people who say this is just scare tactics.  Good luck finding a Doctor.

    There is already a shortage of 60,000 primary care physicans.  You know the people that have to manage the cases.

    I have a friend in Medical School.  NO MED SCHOOL STUDENTS are looking at becoming Primary Care Doctors.

    Think you can find a good specialist who will take Medicare?  Hardly.

    I know a woman who had a very delicate surgery done by the ONLY physician who would see her... because the other Doctors in the practice would not take Medicare. The Doctor she was forced to use did not have the most up to date training so her procedure didn't use the latest hardware.

    Obamacare is a FRAUD.

    Just today the Democrats are making more promises and buy offs to the people they are manipulating to vote for their scam.

    Gee Obama said he would do something about immigration if I vote for his Health Care scam... okay I'm in.  What's that you'll give my state another $100 million ... gee okay I'm in.

    "Obama met Thursday at the White House with Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, the sponsors of a House immigration bill. Gutierrez said later he agreed to vote for Obama's signature domestic bill, health care reform, only if an immigration bill advanced quickly and with a presidential imprimatur."

    What a total and complete scam.  No integrity in the Democratic Party at all.  Just looking to up the ante on the buy offs.

    1. Doug Hughes profile image60
      Doug Hughesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      And this shortage of primary care physicians happened in the last 14 months? Oh, it's been ongoing for years and years.... Well. maybe we shoud have addresed it in Health Care Reform -

      Oh, wait - we did. See New England Journal Of Medicine Oct '09

      The details are there but the Senate version addresses the shortage in 4 ways - Reorganization of Care Delivery, Payment Reform, Workforce Augmentation and Tracking of Care Coordination.

      The work of the last year by democrats HAS examined the problem of the shortage of primary care physicians and a host of other issues. It's not perfect -  but it's pretty darn good. And it's no fraud. That's just a cheap shot for those who won't check the facts about the bill - or the content.

  12. thisisoli profile image71
    thisisoliposted 13 years ago

    Would be interesting see how many of the supposed 1/3rd of doctors throw away over a decade of medical training, and the wages that go with it.

  13. MikeNV profile image68
    MikeNVposted 13 years ago

    Cut their pay and they go away.  It's that simple.

    Obama is demonizing the Health Care Industry.  But handing out money to Bankers just for the asking.

    Team Obama gave GMAC all the moeny they wanted.  No accountability whatso ever.  NO repayment required.

    Then he attacks Doctors.

    Doesn't matter when a shortage occured.  Once people get it through their thick heads that you can not legilslate pay scales for Physcians in a Democracy people will wake up.

    Go ahead and try to find any specialist with any kind of real credentials and track record who takes Medicare.

    They do not exist.  Obamacare will destroy the quality of Medical Care available to all but the very rich. This is counter to what it claims.

    No Doctors no Care.  It's just that simple.

    And the Government has proven one thing over and over... It can NOT MANAGE HEALTH CARE.

    Anyone here going to volunteer for a MANDATED PAY CUT?

    Can anyone here tell me how the poor are going to come up with the Premiums to pay for their mandated health care?  Turns out Tax Credits are not monthly checks.

    Anyone here know about how many extra jail cells will be needed to house the poor?

    Anyone here know how much it will cost law enforcement to arrest and jail these non-patriots for not being able to afford their Mandated Coverage?

    Any one here know why the Disabled won't be covered for 2 years after disability?

    Anyone here know anything about Risk Pools?  Forcing Health Insurers to take on those with Pre-Existing Conditions is like forcing Auto Insurers to insure those Convicted of DUI.  Rates go up... way up.

    37 States are already working on plans to Sue the Federal Government overy Mandated Health Care.

    Obamacare is a complete and Total Fraud.  It's not about Health Care it's about power and control.

    The Federal Government is destroying freedoms and liberty.  The States are rising up to fight this destruction.

    Hard to figure out why Gun Sales are rising?  People... smart people, are preparing for the possiblity of Martial Law as the Federal Government tries to take over their lives.

    1. Doug Hughes profile image60
      Doug Hughesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Can anyone tell if Mike noticed that the entire article about doctors leaving the profession was a FRAUD?  The NEJM has denied being assoiciated with the survey. It's a Hoax.  Let's get that  idea out there. If you aren't too sure about the meaning of Hoax or Fraus - try the word LIE.

      Mike has a predictable rant that offers no facts and might as well be a cut-and-paste from the previous entry.

  14. darkside profile image70
    darksideposted 13 years ago

    If it all goes through they should a survey to see how many have actually left.

    The results would have the headline: 1/3 Of Doctors Are Flouncers

    1. Ron Montgomery profile image60
      Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Flouncers?  What mean that?

      1. darkside profile image70
        darksideposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        The ones that threaten to go, but they stay, and then they threaten to go again, and go, but come back or pretend not to come back and use a sockpuppet, and then come back anyway, then threaten to go unless changes are made, and the changes aren't made, but they don't go, and on and on and on it goes.

        Such behavior is 'flouncing'.

        So if they say that they're going but they don't, it's a bluff. If they have a big whine about it then it's more than just a bluff, it's a flounce.

        1. Ron Montgomery profile image60
          Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this


          1. darkside profile image70
            darksideposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            In a case like this I think the survey questions may be skewed to give those sort of results. Such 'statistics' can be made to prove anything.

            As for flouncing, just take a look around HubPages and you'll see it happen often, usually by a small group of people who regard flouncing as a sport or a hobby as they regularly do this:

            1. Ron Montgomery profile image60
              Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              I've seen the phenomenon many times, I just didn't know there was a term for it.

  15. thisisoli profile image71
    thisisoliposted 13 years ago

    I'm with Darkside.

    The doctors are complaining because it ma ymean lower pay for them, and I don't blame them for complaining. The number of people who actually leave a highly paid job, over a decade of training, and an interesting profession to start all over again (While still owing hundreds of thousands in student debt most likely) is fairly unlikely in my opinion.

  16. profile image0
    shazwellynposted 13 years ago

    If anyone saw sicko, they will understand that Drs dont lose out on money with a state run healthcare service.  Wasnt it Sicko that sparked the debate in the first place?

  17. prettydarkhorse profile image55
    prettydarkhorseposted 13 years ago

    but the effect of a a law should be felt long after, maybe five years, that is the reality


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