Since the beginning of the recent health care reform fiasco, the White House has attempted to make Americans believe that a large majority of doctors are proponents of Obama’s proposed health care overhaul. Well, the White House is terribly mistaken (as if this was a surprise to anyone). In a recent poll taken by Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), it was found that two-thirds of doctors oppose the proposed health care reform plan. Not only does this poll challenge statements from the White House, but also from the American Medical Association (AMA), NPR, and the LA Times. In a recent article from the Times, it says that the AMA is the “association representing the nation’s physicians…lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama’s sweeping plan.” Actually, the AMA only represents 18% of doctors in the US. I would say that that is hardly enough of a percentage to call the AMA a representation of the nation’s physicians.
Another part of the IBD poll asked doctors whether or not they would consider closing their practice if the proposed health care overhaul passed through Congress. A shocking 45% of respondents said that they would, indeed, consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement if the health care bill passed. Out of a mere 800,000 practicing doctors in the US, approximately 360,000 of these would consider leaving. In a country that is scant on medical professionals as it is, this would deal a huge blow to our medical system. Even if none of these doctors end up quitting/retiring, the pool of clients would raise 18% resulting in longer waiting lines and possible rationing of care. Dr. Ted Epperley, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, stated that “it’s like giving everyone free bus passes, but there are only two buses.” Essentially, it is impossible to increase provided health care without having an increase in doctors; this is a simple concept which many policymakers fail to comprehend. As it is, population growth is increasing more rapidly than the growth in the number of doctors.
The last question of the IBD poll asked the participants if they believed that the government would be able to provide 47 million more people with better and cheaper health care as was promised. Seven out of ten respondents said that they did not believe the government capable of doing this. With the lack of given information from our policymakers in regards to health care reform (i.e. where the money for this plan is coming from, how we will compensate for the severe dearth of doctors, etc.), I’d say that that’s a valid statistic.