Will universal health care lead to a physician shortage?

A recent survey asked physicians what they thought about the potential universal health care coverage.

The big conclusion is that almost 20 percent of the country’s physician workforce will stop practicing medicine if the United States were to adopt universal coverage.

Delving deeper into the study, you can see the differences split between specialist/generalist, partisan, and gender lines.

Essentially, there are two physician worldviews:

Further segmentation of LocumTenens.com’s physician survey respondents divides them into two distinct clusters – one skeptical about physicians’ ability to make a decent living under universal health care (44 percent of respondents) and the second more concerned about ensuring that people who need access to health care get it, so they tend to embrace universal health care (56% of responding physicians).

Those who support the “decent living” view tend to be men, Republican, and procedural specialists.

Those who “embrace universal healthcare” tend to be women, Democrat, and generalists.

And now you see why significant health reform will be very difficult to come to fruition with such polarizing views within the physician community.


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