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Physician's Political View: Does It Matter? It Might.
you suspect that your physician's political views may affect your doctor's
medical advice and attention to you as his or her patient? If you suspect that they do, this is
supported by a study published this year in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. by Eitan D. Hersh and Matthew N. Goldenberg
and summarized by this Abstract:
Physicians frequently interact with patients about
politically salient health issues, such as drug use, firearm safety, and sexual
behavior. We investigate whether physicians’ own political views affect their
treatment decisions on these 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). Physicians rated the
seriousness of the issue presented in each vignette and their likelihood of
engaging in specific management options. On the politicized health issues—and
only on such issues—Democratic and Republican physicians differed substantially
in their expressed concern and their recommended treatment plan. We control for
physician demographics (like age, gender, and religiosity), patient population,
and geography. Physician partisan bias can lead to unwarranted variation in
patient care. Awareness of how a physician’s political attitudes might affect
patient care is important to physicians and patients alike.
Read the article and return and express your opinions about
your experiences, if any, regarding the politicalization of how your doctor advises
or treats you. That's assuming that you
even asked your doctor or the doctor actually told you about his or her
political view. Did that ever happen?