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The Care Patients Receive May Depend on the Doctor’s Political Views, Study Says

A physician checks a patient's blood pressure. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A physician checks a patient’s blood pressure. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Even in our increasingly partisan society, you might have figured that your doctor’s office would be neutral territory. But that just goes to show how naive you are.

A new study from researchers at Yale University details significant differences in the way primary care physicians from across the political spectrum approach medical issues that touch on hot-button topics, 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.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

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