by Jonathan Ingram
The Physicians Foundation has completed one of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys ever conducted in the United States. The new survey covers a number of topics, ranging from what they think about ObamaCare to how satisfied they are in their careers, from whether they will continue to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients to what they think about the current state of the medical profession. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few highlights:
- A whopping 61 percent of doctors said they would retire today if they had the ability to do so. That’s up from 45 percent in 2008.
- More than 68 percent of doctors have a negative view of the current state of the medical profession. Just 3.9 percent have a “very positive” view.
- Nearly three-quarters of all doctors have a pessimistic view of the future of the medical profession. Just 3.1 percent have a “very optimistic” view.
- More than 59 percent of doctors have a more negative view of the medical profession as a result of ObamaCare. Just 18.5 percent of doctors have a more positive view as a result of ObamaCare.
- Nearly 56 percent of doctors believe that more widespread use of health savings accounts will improve quality and reduce costs.
- Nearly 73 percent of doctors believe that less government regulation will improve quality and reduce costs.
- More than 35 percent of doctors have closed their practice to Medicare and/or Medicaid patients. That’s up from 24 percent in 2008.
Many of the doctors surveyed really, really dislike over-regulation and government meddling. So much, in fact, that a majority of them opted to provide supplemental written comments to the survey questions. Here’s just a flavor of them:
- Politicians do not and cannot understand medical practice. They need to keep their noses out.
- The current trend to increase the regulations will push more [doctors] into retirement.
- Individual physicians need more autonomy, less regulation.
- Number one [problem]: over-involvement of government in medical practice.
- Have the government get out of our business, allow us to practice the skills we have learned.
- Doctors and patient should make the decisions – not the government…
- A once honorable, hard working profession is being assassinated by … federal mandates.
- Actually, within one year I will probably close my practice. The local, state, and federal mandates and regulations have overwhelmed my ability to continue as a small businessman.
- All laws and regulations are well intended; but, they serve to limit access to healthcare.
- All predictions of restrictions of patient care will come to fruition if the government takes over healthcare.
- A single payer government system will be a catastrophe.
- Most physicians want autonomy, not complete government control.
- A single payer health system is the worst possible solution to our current healthcare crisis.
- Abolish Obamacare as soon as possible. Stop all the mandates from Washington.
- [R]emove the government from the examination room.
- “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help you.” Despite the hopes of many that this could be true, it is not.
It’s clear that doctors are getting fed up. Most of them would retire today if they could. That’s particularly troubling, given the fact that Illinois is already facing a doctor shortage. According to state and federal data, there are primary care provider shortages in all but five of Illinois’ 102 counties. To make matters worse, half of recent medical graduates are fleeing the state. The Association of American Medical Colleges further predicts that there will be a doctor shortage in the United States of 62,900 by 2015, even without doctors retiring in droves. Based on the current distribution of doctors among the states, Illinois’ share of that shortage would be 2,740.
The only question left is: how much longer will you have to wait for your next appointment?