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Nearly one-third of all practicing physicians may leave the medical profession if President Obama signs current versions of health-care reform legislation into law, according to a survey published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The survey, which was conducted by the Medicus Firm, a leading physician search and consulting firm based in Atlanta and Dallas, found that a majority of physicians said health-care reform would cause the quality of American medical care to “deteriorate” and it could be the “final straw” that sends a sizeable number of doctors out of medicine.
More than 29 percent (29.2) percent of the nearly 1,200 doctors who responded to the survey said they would quit the profession or retire early if health reform legislation becomes law. If a public option were included in the legislation, as several liberal Senators have indicated they would like, the number would jump to 45.7 percent.
“Many physicians feel that they cannot continue to practice if patient loads increase while pay decreases,” Perpetua said in the study. “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.”
-- 36 percent said that they would not recommend medicine as a profession to others, regardless of whether health-care reform passes; -- another 27 percent would still recommend medicine as a career, but not if the current reform proposal passes.
In total, 63 percent of doctors would not recommend the profession after health-care reform passes. Just 12 percent do not recommend becoming a physician now but think they would if current reform proposals pass.