Political Health Issues? Docs Differ
Is your health care provider a Democrat? A Republican? Why would that matter? According to a recent study, a doctor’s party affiliation can influence his or her treatment decisions—especially when it comes to politically-charged and/or social health issues like abortion, marijuana use, firearm access, etc. Not surprisingly, differences are not as apparent when it comes to less political health issues.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by researchers from Yale University, was small in size—including just 233 physicians. However, according to researchers, partisan differences were readily apparent.
For the study, doctors were asked to evaluate nine different, hypothetical, social scenarios. Participants were asked how concerned they would be for their patient in each scenario and how likely they would be to recommend a treatment option from a list of possibilities. While political affiliation should not influence patient care, it’s important for health care consumers to understand that a doctor’s political ideas could affect medical decisions.
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