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Debates on Doctors Unionizing

Sophie Macko

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It has been debated upon for decades about whether or not doctors should be able to unionze. For one, if a democracy were denying a group of workers the right to unionize despite their right to would be definitely questionable. Although on the other hand, if doctors were able to unionze then there would be many doctors who can intentionally take advantage of the system because of the immense power that doctors forming a union would have. Even though this is a possibility/risk for any profession worker in a union, there are many doctors who can unintentionally set off the balance as well. But this is not exactly a black and white situation. “Everybody agrees that there should be a better balance between between quality care and limiting cost. However, people have a hard time agreeing on how to achieve that,” said Dr. Steven Macko, a practicing family physician, to the Hamilton Paw Print.

Currently, under law, private practice doctors are not able to unionize because of their supervisory duties. A primary concern for permitting these doctors to unionize is that if they were to unionize, they would have too much power and control of over insurance companies in that doctors could band together to talk with the companies and other payers and negotiate what the companies will charge them. This is where, as Dr. Macko said, “An aggressive doctors union could monopolize the delivery of healthcare,” but “If doctors unionized, they could collectively bargain with insurance companies to help stabilize costs. Doing so, could potentially allow doctors to focus more on the delivery of healthcare rather than manage business costs. This would allow doctors more time to spend with patients and improve quality of care. Insurance companies would be forced to control their own costs and limit waste.” I seems obvious now the reason for such heavy debate on this topic because the major pulls from either side of the argument are strong.

Students, despite little background on the topic, took into serious consideration this problem and formed their own opinions on it. “It makes sense just because they would have too much power but it isn’t necessarily fair that they can’t unionize. It is just that they would have too much power,” said Natalie Kosednar (9).“It depends on the person and the the issues their having like in pay. There is a small percent of doctors that would take advantage of the system but really there is a spectrum,” said Laurel Hamblin (9) concerning what would happen if doctors were able to unionize and how many of those would take advantage of their power.

To conclude, there just needs to be a set balance on how much insurance companies can charge. Dr. Macko said, “Doctors are uniquely positioned to understand those needs better than an insurance company whose primary concern is not the care of people but rather generating a profit. There are many models of healthcare delivery that have struck a better balance between controlling healthcare costs and healthcare delivery.

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Debates on Doctors Unionizing