Herd It In A Survey by Pat Conrad MD


Doctors, like journalists, usually run in herds. Get a writer – “journalist” is a little quaint – contributing to The Washington Post, and they are more likely than not to produce work complimentary toward, or at the very least uncritical of any government-enlarging law. So when Aaron Blake writes a column pointing out that Republican doctors are far more likely to criticize the ACA, his purpose is to indirectly defend it by suggesting partisanship as the real reason for opposition. I’m not defending the GOP, but it isn’t tough to read between the lines when you know who manufactures the blinds.

A writer contributing to a left-leaning newspaper quotes a study from the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation, commenting on the opinions of a famously herded group (doctors) is going to draw acceptable conclusions, nothing new here. Any survey of 1,624 primary care physicians would have to adjust for the known percentage suffering from Stockholm syndrome to even take a swing at validity.

  • 52% of doctors oppose the ACA (87% are Republican), and 48% support it (87% are Democrat). Independents oppose the ACA by 58%.
  • More worrisome, 60% of doctors said the their ability to provide care under the ACA has”stayed about the same.”

So (1) the law did not improve an already lousy situation, and (2) does not take into account the obvious, ominous trends in the ACA. But then a paragraph down, the writer and study self-contradict, “[Doctors] say, narrowly, that it has hurt the level of care their patients receive, 25-18.”

But Blake says, “And by and large, doctors say the law has had very little effect on their ability to provide care.” So a majority of surveyed physicians said simultaneously that under the ACA, their patients’ care has been harmed, but the law has not affected their ability to provide care. What the hell does that mean?

  • Doc’s surveyed say that the ACA has improved access to insurance 48-24%.
  • And they say that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion is a positive 36-23%.

Why would a majority of surveyed physicians applaud the ACA’s expansion of coverage – could they not see even in 2015 when this was done that costs would zoom and competition would constrict? Why would a majority of physicians applaud Medicaid expansion, knowing that far from being self-funding, it is a self-growing program that abuses both taxpayers and many of the beneficiaries? And that to me is the real takeaway from this article.

At least 20% of those surveyed thought the ACA a positive, and a majority of those surveyed want more government medicine. The sad truth about this profession is that a great many of us like to practice altruism with other people’s money, showing compensated compassion for the growing numbers of people unable to afford insurance which costs are exploding thanks to the program that too many of these doctors and patients blindly supported. Yes, I realize that Medicaid pays squat, but doesn’t make its physician-advocates morally superior. It makes them ripe for the total nationalizing of the health care system when the ACA collapses on its own lies.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “Herd It In A Survey by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Seneca
    November 1, 2016 at 7:37 am

    A little OT, but a local psychiatrist advocates Medicare for all as a solution for health care in the US. I saw a patient of his who has been stable for years on several psych meds who asked me to start writing them since she will enroll in Medicare next month. The reason? He does not accept Medicare because of low reimbursements!

  2. JM Brown MD MSEE
    November 1, 2016 at 6:08 am

    This is another link that gives sheep a bad name….
    Insanity by another name, any day….

  3. Thomas Guastavino
    November 1, 2016 at 6:06 am

    No matter how this mess turns out someone is going to get slaughtered and unless physicians collectively say “no” its going to be us. Union Now!!

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