Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And You Thought Wait Times Were Long Now

Survey Reveals Potential Impact of Health Reform on Physician Supply

In a physician survey conducted December 2009 by The Medicus Firm, a national physician search firm, 24.7% of physicians stated that they would "retire early" if a public option is implemented, and an additional 21.0% of respondents stated that they would quit practicing medicine, even though they are nowhere near retirement. This brings the amount of physicians who would leave medicine to a total of 45.7%...

"Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases. 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," states Kevin Perpetua, Managing Partner for The Medicus Firm's Atlanta division. "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. Health reform, and increasing government control of medicine may be the final straw that causes the physician workforce to break down."

Democrats and liberals (not always the same group) are banking on the idea that doctors won't drop out of the system, and that plenty of people will still want to be doctors after Obamacare passes. That's not what doctors are saying, and certainly hasn't been the trend for several years (more people are going to law school than med school, for example). Why would a person go into extreme debt only to have the government dictate how much s/he could make and how many patients one was forced to see? Countries with socialized medicine deal with this crisis by importing doctors from countries like India and Pakistan. If you want a doctor you can't understand and who doesn't understand you, then Obamacare seems to be the way to go.