WASHINGTON – Democratic and Republican doctors may see and treat politicized health issues through different lens, a new paper suggests.
The study, “Democratic and Republican Physicians Provide Different Care on Politicized Health Issues,” by Yale researchers Eitan Hersh and Matthew Goldenberg found that political beliefs may color how primary care physicians respond to various medical issues.
The pair asked doctors to review nine potential patient scenarios, with three addressing “especially politicized health issues,” those being marijuana, abortion and firearm storage. The other patient scenarios – smoking, obesity and depression – were less fraught with political ramifications.
The findings? “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,” the researchers wrote. They noted that the survey comes as other scholarly research has demonstrated a high level of politicization in the medical profession, with Democratic and Republican physicians disagreeing over the Affordable Care Act.
The survey found that Democratic physicians considered the firearms scenario – in which a parent acknowledged having several firearms at home – to be more concerning. Republican doctors, in comparison, cited the patient who acknowledged using recreational marijuana approximately three times per week as more concerning, along with the patient who says she had two abortions.