One of the more disturbing studies I've seen in a while:
Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.
The survey, released this week by the Physicians' Foundation, which promotes better doctor-patient relationships, sought to find the reasons for an identified exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry.
A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week's American Medical Association annual meeting.
In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.
Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they'd consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there's too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.
And if that many physicians stopped practicing, that could be devastating to the health care industry.
Lawmakers contemplating any national health insurance plan should take heed of this study and ask themselves a question; will national health insurance make the paperwork and red tape burden better or worse for these doctors?
I would be interested in hearing a liberal tell us when, in the history of government, adding a layer of federal control to anything has resulted in less paperwork. Talk to physicians in Canada or Great Britain about why they are quitting. Doctors usually would prefer to practice medicine rather than act as bookkeepers for the government.
There are other ways to insure those who can't afford it and reduce the burden of insurance for those who already have it. Getting the government involved is always the least efficient, most problematic solution.