Monday, May 30, 2011

Female Doc's Cause Shift to Empathetic Politics (Article)

Article Highlights:

Doctors were once overwhelmingly male and usually owned their own practices. They generally favored lower taxes and regularly fought lawyers to restrict patient lawsuits.

But doctors are changing. They are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals. Additionally, half of all younger doctors are women, and that share is likely to grow.

American Medical Association supported President Obama’s legislation last year because the new law would provide health insurance to the vast majority of the nation’s uninsured, improve competition and choice in insurance, and promote prevention and wellness, the group said. 

Because so many doctors are no longer in business for themselves, many of the issues that were once priorities for doctors’ groups, like insurance reimbursement, have been displaced by public health and safety concerns, including mandatory seat belt use and chemicals in baby products.

The Maine doctors’ group once opposed health insurance mandates because they increase costs to employers, but it now supports them, despite Republican opposition, because they help patients. 

“When I came here, it was an old boys’ club of conservative Republicans,” said Joanne K. Bryson, the executive director of the Oregon Medical Association since 2004. Now her group now lobbies for public health issues that it long ignored, like insurance coverage for people with disabilities. 

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