83% of Doctors Willing to Quit Because of Obamacare – Except Not Really

According to Fox News, the Drudge Report and the Daily Caller, 83 percent of U.S. doctors have considered quitting over the Affordable Care Act.

I know what you’re thinking: I can’t believe it!

You’d be right.

The right-wing echo chamber amplified a seriously flawed poll conducted by the fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. While most mainstream physicians’ groups, like the American Medical Association, backed the Affordable Care Act, the AAPS has taken a variety of extreme stances. They’ve advised doctors not to accept Medicare payments, argued that abortion causes breast cancer, and pushed conspiracy theories related to the death of Vince Foster. They were the source of the bogus claim that immigrants were causing a leprosy epidemic, one happily parroted by Lou Dobbs.

Certainly, the organization is an extreme one, but it’s still possible that the poll is valid. Or it would be, if it had been conducted using standard polling methodology. It was not.

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. Doctors were asked to return their completed surveys by fax, or online at a web address included in the faxed copy. Browser rules prevented doctors from filing duplicate surveys, and respondents were asked to provide personal identification for verification. The response rate was 4.3% for a total of 699 completed surveys.

Of course, sending a blast fax and seeing who responds is not the way anyone would do a poll; the purpose of polling is to get a random cross-section of the group being polled. By leaving the responses up to who happens to come across a fax and respond to it, the AAPS survey was certain to reach a non-random sample of physicians. Not to mention that more than a few non-extreme physicians may have chucked the fax the second they saw who it was from.

Even with the odd methodology, the polling didn’t say what the right-wing media claimed it did.

How do current changes in the medical system affect your desire to practice medicine?

Makes me think about quitting – 83%

Unsure/No opinion – 13%

I’m re-energized – 5%

If that question strikes you as nonsensical, you’re not the only one. It doesn’t say what changes in the medical system we’re talking about. It doesn’t specify Obamacare, or indeed, even reference the Affordable Care Act. The three options — re-energized, thinking about quitting, and “unsure” — hardly seem to cover any logical terrain. Indeed, the question seems almost designed to elicit a negative response.

So to summarize, the right-wing media amplified and promoted a poll with serious methodological problems, run by an organization with a highly dubious history, and even then, they misrepresented what the poll said. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

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William C.
William C.5 years ago

"One thing I don't like about Obamacare is the requirement for a RFID chip implant. Senate Healthcare bill HR3200 requires a RFID chip implant in all of us. Can you spell "Orwellian"?"

I spell it H-O-A-X.

Really, the sheer stupidity of repeating outrageous myths like that is breathtaking.

Teresa B.
Teresa B5 years ago

According to Snopes:


No mandatory microchip.

JACarlton Author
jill c5 years ago

Richard B... really? That's a total fallacy, the stipulation (which did NOT MAKE IT INTO THE FINAL BILL) simply recategorizes life sustaining implants (shunts, heart valves,) and implanted quality of life components like artificial hips, titanium knees etc... get your facts before you spew the Number of the Beast bullshit the wrong wingers are spouting about! THERE IS NO MANDATE THAT ANYTHING MUST BE IMPLANTED IN ANYONE... EVER! (so far, but that really does depend on who gets in and how much they're willing to sell our nation into corporate or theocratic slavery.... uhm *coughromneycough*

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin5 years ago

REPUGLISCUM GOP lies !!! Only George W# Bushn Dick Cheney told the truth about Saddam weapons of mass destruction. Operation Iraq Freedom (OIL) great success for Haliburton, Blackwater profits. $7.35 Trillion from US coffers for 2 illegal wars. The KOCHroach funded elections to unseat the foreign guy in the "white house" The vulture capitalists Romoney and Ryan being fed by the vampire Wall street crooks and right-wing neo-con parasites. Nevr vote conservative. Vote Obama for our survival.

Dale Overall

Who really believes anything on Fox News? I always thought it was pure fiction!

William C.
William C.5 years ago

"This plan "will" put a hardship on low income people."

Low income people will automatically be eligible for Medicaid. This is not a hardship, this is a benefit !

"This plan "will not" benefit anyone other than the illegal aliens in this country. What a shame that American born citizens will suffer to help the illegals."

You are ignorant. Illegals are not covered under the ACA.

William C.
William C.5 years ago

@Jane R. 'If Obummer care is put into force we "will" have some doctors leave the profession."

And do what? Work at McDonalds? Go back to school and become Veterinarians? If you make a claim, back it up. Where are the Doctors going to go?

"We "will" also have less people going into the medical field."

The AMA has been suppressing the number of doctors for decades, because population trends convinced them that the number of doctors would rise too fast, and thus their salaries would drop. They overcompensated, and have reversed themselves, opening the first new Medical School since 1982 recently, in Florida.

The braindead talking points you recite are based on lies, assumptions, and exaggerations. Doctors quitting? Because now their billing staff can simply fill out Insurance forms rather than chase people that can't afford to pay?

If you're ignorant, let me fill you in. Doctors LOVE Insurance companies. It gives them one place to file for payment.

When I go in for a doctor's visit, I get a bill with a threatening note, that despite not owing the hospital a dime, if I haven't paid in ten days it goes out for collection.

Which means the Hospital sells the debt to the collection agency and loses money in the process.

You think maybe they'd RATHER bill the Insurance agency than chase 5,000 people who haven't sent a check yet?

"This plan "will" put a hardship on low income people."

Low income people will automatically be eligible for

David C.
David C5 years ago

@Jeramy "my numbers [were] exaggerated."

Your numbers were accurate. 2.4 physicians per 1,000 population in 2010, and that is all physicians. Primary care docs have more than 400 patients. Obamacare will put further demands on the system. But why are you blaming Obama care for the chronic shortage of physicians in the US? The UK government has increased number of physicians by 40% since 2001. The US could and should match that increase. I have insurance, I waited six months for an appointment with one specialist, five months for another.

You never answered my question. Is the conservative plan for improving health care to deny 40 million citizens access to doctors?

Obamcare does NOTHING to set prices for all physicians. The plan maximizes the number of people with PRIVATE insurance. Insurance companies will negotiate reimbursement rates, just like they do now. Doctors can charge what they want. They may not get any patients but that's their privilege and that ain't going to change.

You overemphasise $$. Not all Americans are controlled exclusively by money. This is particularly true of professionals. Physicians in teaching hospitals (like my daughter) are often salaried. The get the same pay no matter who they treat. Many professionals get their kicks from being good at their job - I know, I was one.

If you think only lefties sue you're nuts. Didn't you know St Rich Santorum sued?

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

Jeramy baby, I find it hard to believe that you "think for yourself" (or even think for that matter) when all you do is spout talking points from inside the right wing bubble ("socialists" and "libs" and "Obama stealing my freedom")

Requiring people to purchase healthcare is hardly "unconstitutional." Every American is already in the stream of commerce (everyone gets sick or injured) and the Constitution grants congress the power to regulate commerce (no it isn't like making everyone buy a Prius-god that right wing talking point is getting old).

Hell in 1798 Congress (and President John Adams) required all merchant sailors to purchase private health insurance. I guess they knew what the founding fathers intended (since they were the founding fathers).

So save your "the sky is falling" nonsense for someplace where the people are stupid enough to believe it.

Jeramy C.
Jeramy C.5 years ago

O and Kevin how is it in a democracy you are so willing to hand over your healthcare concerns to 1 person?