Friday, June 3, 2011

U.S. Doctors An Unhappy Bunch

WaPo has published data from the Commonwealth Fund titled, Survey of Primary Care Physicians in 11 Countries, 2009: Perspectives on Care, Costs, and Experiences. The  results are from a 2009 survey. It shows U.S. physicians were near the bottom in terms of satisfaction with practicing medicine. And this was before Obamacare even started to kick in.

Just last week, I wrote:
Since healthcare is a major focus of governments including here in the U.S., it's only a matter of time before more regulations and some type of price controls are imposed on the services of medical doctors in this country.
I am often asked, if it is time to leave the country. My reply has consistently been that there is no blanket advice I can give to everyone. A surfer dude, who is only concerned with how big the next wave is, could conceivably live in a totalitarian state that would be difficult for others to live in. There is likely to be very little regulation of his life, and if he stays on the beach and doesn't go too far inland, he may come across authorities in only rare instances---enough to make such encounters just a minor hassle.

On the other end, medical doctors and money managers need to start thinking about packing their bags now. The regulations for both these professions continue to grow. If I am a medical doctor who plans to be practicing for 5 years plus, I would be thinking about the Caribbean Islands or somewhere in South America as alternative places to practice...
Judging from the survey results, it appears doctors understand the problem. At some point, you are going to see doctors retire early and others


  1. You are spot on. I am a physician, age 55. I will retire in the next 3 years due to Obamacare. Things are bad now they will only get worse. My specialty is in critical shortage in Socialist countries such as Canda and Israel. That shortage is coming to America.

  2. I think Tijuana will wind up being a medical mecca. Already, lots of SoCal people travel there for major dental or cosmetic work. A doctor can live in San Diego, and commute to work in Tijuana (or stay there during the week if the border crossing is too onerous).

  3. Why don't we just offer NZ doctors US pay to come to the US?

  4. Anonymous 4:41, you are missing the point. Job satisfaction has more to do with regulatory BS than money. However, when you institute any sort of price control on the system, the willingness to put up with the BS declines to a point that providers opt out. Dr. NZ is satisfied because the combination of regulatory BS and compensation is in equilibrium. If price controls or additional workload cause more docs to opt out, the burden on the remainder increases without the expected resultant compensation increase and the result is even more docs (in that particular specialty) opt out. It's a central planner's nightmare.