Friday, December 10, 2010

Grace-Marie Turner and the Galen Institute

I would like to bring to your attention the work and words of Grace Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a 15 year old non-profit, free-market oriented, public policy think-tank in Alexandria, Virginia.

Today, December 10, in her Health Policy Matters post (see, she had this to say after reading a December 9 blog of mine.”Playing the Percentages Leading up to 2012 elections.”

Doctors ready to quit: If we needed any more evidence that things are about to come tumbling down, a recent survey shows that many doctors are ready to quit medical practice altogether. “

“And it's probably just a coincidence that doctors are thinking of leaving practice in about three years, which would be 2014… “

“Most physicians who actually see patients work in small private practices of 10 or fewer doctors. If even half of those contemplating leaving practice do so, it would have a serious impact on patients' access to medical care. “

“Here are the findings by The Physicians Foundation of its survey of nearly 2,400 practicing physicians:

• 40% of doctors plan to stop providing patient care within three years. They will retire, seek a non-clinical job within health care, or leave the health care field entirely.

• 60% say reform will force them to close or restrict their practices to certain subgroups of patients. Of these, 93 percent say that decision would affect Medicaid patients, and 87 percent say they'd exclude some or all Medicare patients.

• 59% believe that reform will cause them to spend less time with patients.

• 74% will make significant changes in their practice in reaction to reform.

• 68% think reform will reduce the viability of their practices, and a whopping 80% say that it will hurt private practice specifically. “

“Specialists, in particular, expect to lose income because of the payment changes under the health overhaul law, making finding a specialist especially difficult.”

“Our friend Dr. Richard Reece blogged that this wholesale rush from private practice would be a death knell for the health overhaul law. Politicians simply cannot risk imposing changes that will threaten access to care on anything like this scale.

In closing, a few words about the Galen Institute’s mission. It is dedicated to putting individuals rather than corporate or government bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions.

Its beliefs are:

1) Consumers and their physicians should have authority and responsibility over health care decisions:

2) The vibrant free market will encourage research and innovation and provide better access to new medical technologies:

3) A market that supports innovation will lead to lower costs, expanded choice, and increased access to better medical care."

Other than Grace-Marie, its scholars and trustees include:

Joseph Antos - Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute; former assistant director for health policy, Congressional Budget Office

James Capretta - senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; former associate director, White House Office of Management and Budget

Brian Lee Crowley - founder and managing director, the McDonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, Canada; former president, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS)

John Hoff - former deputy assistant secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin - former fellow, Manhattan Institute; former director, Congressional Budget Office