Monday, September 14, 2009

What Most Doctors Think About Health Care Reform

Researchers at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, surveyed a representative sample of physicians throughout the U.S. and found that they overwhelmingly support either a private/public health care reform combination or single payer health care.

The summary of the study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, says that:

62.9 percent of physicians nationwide support proposals to expand health care coverage that include both public and private insurance options—where people under the age of 65 would have the choice of enrolling in a new public health insurance plan (like Medicare) or in private plans. The survey shows that just 27.3 percent of physicians support a new program that does not include a public option and instead provides subsidies for low-income people to purchase private insurance. Only 9.6 percent of doctors nationwide support a system where a Medicare-like public program is created in lieu of any private insurance. A majority of physicians (58%) also support expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64.

In every region of the country, a majority of physicians supported a combination of public and private options, as did physicians who identified themselves as primary care providers, surgeons, or other medical subspecialists. Among those who identified themselves as members of the American Medical Association, 62.2 percent favored both the public and private options.
So that's 62.9 percent + 9.6 = 72.5 percent supporting either a private/public approach or a completely public approach. And the doctors who were members of the AMA were just about indistinguishable from the group as a whole (62.2 vs. 62.9 in favor of the private/public approach). This despite the fact that the AMA has come out against the public option.

Makes you wonder how they make policy decisions... I guess it must not include a vote of the membership.

Complete study including sample size and methodology

NPR story on the study

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