Report: Patient care is affected by doctors’ politics


The partisan inclinations of your medical doctor may affect the treatment you receive, according to a new study reported on in the Los Angeles Times.

The Yale University study examines how primary care physicians of various political views approach medical issues that touch on hot-button issues, such as abortion and gun control.

For instance, doctors were more likely to say that they would counsel a patient seeking an abortion to consider the mental health consequences of going through with the procedure if they were registered to vote as Republicans than as Democrats. Likewise, doctors registered as Democrats were more likely to urge patients who owned guns to keep them out of their homes, while doctors registered as Republicans were more likely to ask if the guns were stored safely.

“Just as a patient may seek out a physician of a certain gender to feel more comfortable, the evidence suggests that a patient may need to make the same calculation regarding political ideology,” political scientist Eitan Hersh and psychiatrist Matthew Goldenberg wrote Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The report is titled “Democratic and Republican physicians provide different care on politicized health issues.”

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