Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not So "Unexpected"

For an outfit that sees itself as a major voice in the medical field, the New England Journal of Medicine apparently doesn't spend a heck of a lot of time talking to actual doctors. Anybody who's spoken to an actual physician over the past couple of years would not find this result "unexpected":

What if nearly half of all physicians in America stopped practicing medicine? While a sudden loss of half of the nations physicians seems unlikely, a very dramatic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality as an unexpected side effect of health reform.


The results from the survey, entitled “Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care,” were intriguing, particularly in light of the most recently published career projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts a more than a 22 percent increase in physician jobs during the ten-year period ending in 2018. This places physician careers in the top 20 fastest-growing occupations from 2008 to 2018. Meanwhile, nearly one-third of physicians responding to the survey indicated that they will want to leave medical practice after health reform is implemented.

One very experienced M.D. I know is already looking into law schools; he's just not interested in continuing to practice medicine if he's forced to become a de facto government employee subject to arbitrary regulation and Congressional price-fixing. With all due respect to the Blogfaddah, I don't really think that particular career change would be a net benefit to society...

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