About That "83 Percent of Doctors Hate Obamacare So Much, They Might Quit" Poll

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 9 2012 5:12 PM

About That "83 Percent of Doctors Hate Obamacare So Much, They Might Quit" Poll

If a story leads the Drudge Report for most of the day, you're eventually going to hear about it. So, here you go: "Report: 83 percent of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare," by Sally Nelson.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.
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Intriguing. What's the Doctor Patient Medical Association? Nelson refers to it as "a non-partisan association of doctors and patients." But lots of organizations claim to be "non-partisan." The DPMA's co-founder, quoted here, is Kathryn Serkes. She's "non-partisan" in the sense that she worked for a conservative Republican in the 2010 Washington state race for U.S. Senate, and appeared alongside Republican members of Congress at Tea Party rallies against the Affordable Care Act. Her partner at the top is Mark Schiller, M.D., who's also a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, and the author of a classic 2009 column about how "Obamacare" would succeed by helping to kill sick people.

If we can just make sure to treat cancer patients with older, cheaper, more ineffective treatments, then treatment will actually be more effective -- at cutting costs as more cancer patients die. We not only save the cost of more expensive medication -- we also save by relying on less expensive stays in hospices instead of more extended active treatments. 

More importantly, if we can help patients die quickly now, then we can save on the cost of any future major illnesses they would've had that would have cost society a whole boatload of money. Basically, one severe potentially terminal illness is cheaper than two.

So, they have some opinions. But how did they get these survey results?

The survey was conducted by fax and online from April 18 to May 22, 2012. DPMAF obtained the office fax numbers of 36,000 doctors in active clinical practice, and 16, 227 faxes were successfully delivered... The response rate was 4.3% for a total of 699 completed surveys.

If you read the original Nelson story, you notice that the big medical groups don't bother commenting until they process the numbers. But you don't often bother if the data looks like this.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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