Doctor flight is no big risk

March 25, 2012

Times Argus

Re: “Health care freedom at risk” by Jeff Wennberg in Sunday’s paper:

Mr. Wennberg makes every effort to scare Vermonters about a future in which universal health care will be implemented in Vermont.

I won’t quibble with his opinions, but when he claims them to be truths, it’s time for a fact check.

When he mentions that 12 physicians in Rutland recently threatened to leave our state when universal health care is implemented, it’s worth putting that in perspective.

Vermont is fortunate to have 37 percent more physicians per capita than the national average. We’re sixth best in the nation on that statistic. That means that nearly 600 physicians would have to flee our state before our doctor supply fell to merely average.

At a rally in 2011 more than 250 young doctors and medical students from as far afield as Oregon and California came to Montpelier to express their support for Vermont’s universal health care bill and sign a petition stating that they would willingly move to Vermont to practice when it is implemented.

Just like others, physicians are always moving in and out of Vermont for all manner of personal reasons. But the fact is that the net number we have to care for us continues to rise slowly but surely.

We don’t have to lose any sleep worrying that a small number of ideologue doctors might leave their practices in Vermont.