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?