Friday, October 28, 2016

How Your Doctor's Politics Affects Your Health Care -- And What You Can Do About It

It seems timely to discuss what politics has done to your health.  It has certainly affected your first amendment rights. It flies in the face of the bill of rights, and the declaration of independence.  No doubt few of our leaders have read either of those cherished documents.  If you have not reviewed the I highly recommend it. To my knowledge no one as cancelled the pledges, nor suspended those rights, which we all cherish.

Paul Hseih M.D., a praciticng internal medicine physician speaks:




Does your doctor’s politics affect his or her medical advice?
Although I would like to think not, a recent study by Yale researchers Eitan Hersh and Matthew Goldenberg has shown the opposite. They’ve published some eye-opening results in a recent research paper, “Democratic and Republican physicians provide different care on politicized health issues”:
We linked the records of over 20,000 primary care physicians in 29 US states to a voter registration database, obtaining the physicians’ political party affiliations. We then surveyed a sample of Democratic and Republican primary care physicians. Respondents evaluated nine patient vignettes, three of which addressed especially politicized health issues (marijuana, abortion, and firearm storage).
Their results were interesting. For most issues, the physician’s political leanings did not affect their treatment. But for three specific issues, the doctor’s political leanings did — abortion, marijuana, and guns.

With respect to the first two issues:
Faced with a woman who wasn’t currently pregnant but had undergone two abortions earlier in life, Republican doctors were twice as likely as their Democratic counterparts to say they’d discourage any future abortions and 35 percent more likely to discuss so-called mental health aspects of abortion…
Faced with a man who uses recreational marijuana three times a week, Republican doctors were 64 percent more likely to say they’d discuss marijuana’s legal risks and 47 percent more likely to urge them to cut back than Democratic doctors.


I cover health care and economics from a free-market perspective.  
Does your doctor’s politics affect his or her medical advice?
Although I would like to think not, a recent study by Yale researchers Eitan Hersh and Matthew Goldenberg has shown the opposite. They’ve published some eye-opening results in a recent research paper, “Democratic and Republican physicians provide different care on politicized health issues”:
We linked the records of over 20,000 primary care physicians in 29 US states to a voter registration database, obtaining the physicians’ political party affiliations. We then surveyed a sample of Democratic and Republican primary care physicians. Respondents evaluated nine patient vignettes, three of which addressed especially politicized health issues (marijuana, abortion, and firearm storage).
Their results were interesting. For most issues, the physician’s political leanings did not affect their treatment. But for three specific issues, the doctor’s political leanings did — abortion, marijuana, and guns.

With respect to the first two issues,  Faced with a woman who wasn’t currently pregnant but had undergone two abortions earlier in life, Republican doctors were twice as likely as their Democratic counterparts to say they’d discourage any future abortions and 35 percent more likely to discuss so-called mental health aspects of abortion  Faced with a man who uses recreational marijuana three times a week, Republican doctors were 64 percent more likely to say they’d discuss marijuana’s legal risks and 47 percent more likely to urge them to cut back than Democratic doctors.


As a physician and a gun owner, I was especially interested in how political affiliation affected doctors’ treatment of patients who owned guns:  When it came to firearms stored in patients’ homes, Democratic physicians expressed far more concern than Republicans. However, Republicans doctors were more likely to actually talk with patients about storing guns safely in the home, despite being far less concerned about the issue overall…

In contrast to abortion, marijuana use, and gun ownership, doctors’ political affiliation did notaffect their treatment of other issues such as depression, alcohol abuse, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet.









How Your Doctor's Politics Affects Your Health Care -- And What You Can Do About It

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