Monday, September 21, 2009

What doctors think. . .

The website for The New England Journal of Medicine (September 14, 2009) reported on a national survey of the attitudes and opinions of physicians when it comes to a plan to provide health coverage for all Americans.

The article, "Doctors on Coverage — Physicians’ Views on a New Public Insurance Option and Medicare Expansion" reports important findings, or so it seems to me.

Here's a taste of the content:

In the past few months, a key point of contention in the health care reform debate has been whether a public health insurance option should be included in the final legislation. Although polls have shown that 52 to 69% of Americans support such an option,1 the views of physicians are unclear. Physicians are critical stakeholders in health care reform and have been influential in shaping health policy throughout the history of organized medicine in the United States.2

The voices of physicians in the current debate have emanated almost exclusively from national physicians’ groups and societies. Like any special-interest group, these organizations claim to represent their members (and often nonmembers as well). The result is a well-established understanding of the interests of physicians’ societies but little, if any, understanding of views among physicians in general. Faced with this absence of empirical data, we conducted a national survey of physicians to inform federal policymakers about physicians’ views of proposed expansions of health care coverage. . . .

Overall, a majority of physicians (62.9%) supported public and private options. . . . Only 27.3% supported offering private options only. Respondents — across all demographic subgroups, specialties, practice locations, and practice types — showed majority support (>57.4%) for the inclusion of a public option. . . Primary care providers were the most likely to support a public option (65.2%); among the other specialty groups, the “other” physicians — those in fields that generally have less regular direct contact with patients, such as radiology, anesthesiology, and nuclear medicine — were the least likely to support a public option, though 57.4% did so. Physicians in every census region showed majority support for a public option, with percentages in favor ranging from 58.9% in the South to 69.7% in the Northeast. Practice owners were less likely than nonowners to support a public option (59.7% vs. 67.1%, P<0.001),>

To read the entire report, with charts and graphs, click here.

Interesting stuff, huh?


Chris said...

I guess it boils down to what poll one reads. The one I read says that if Obamacare is passed, 45% of doctors would consider early retirement, It also says that 75% disagree that the government can care for 47 million more people with better quality care at lower cost. Of course, Obama made it 31 million the other day, obviously subtracting illegals. He later said we would have to make them legal. Amnesty anyone?

Anonymous said...

Chris, I suspect the poll you read was the mail-in poll by IBDD/Tipp. Nate Silver deals with this, and reminds us that this group had McCain winning the youth vote over Obama 74-22. They are utterly discredited. (Read Nate's post on this at

Larry did not pick and choose -- the New England Journal of Medicine is the gold standard for medical issues, and Pew is reliable. Your reference is wishful thinking from a discredited source.

Randy Mayeux

Anonymous said...

I do not for one minute believe that 45% of doctors would quit their profession (I suspect this is what we are meant to understand) before they even know the results of whatever change happens. This is nothing but right wing scare propoganda: "oh no! we will run out of doctors to treat us!" It deserves the same respect as talk of "death panels."


Anonymous said...

latest Rasmussen poll (9-18-09).
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide now oppose the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the highest level of opposition yet measured and includes 44% who are Strongly Opposed.

Just 43% now favor the proposal, including 24% who Strongly Favor it.