Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Most Doctors Want A Public Option

Not that it will likely change many of the bought votes of our congress critters or the otherwise insane ones it seems like actual physicians support a public alternative as part of health care reforms, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Public opinion surveys have consistently shown strong support for a public option as part of heath care reform while the entire health care industry has been furiously fighting it.

It is encouraging to know that a large majority of physicians seem to agree more with their patients than with the industry. (via Dr. Ron Chusid, who has more)

A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.

When polled, "nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options," says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Most doctors -- 63 percent -- say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That's the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they'd like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.

According to the author, "Whether they lived in southern regions of the United States or traditionally liberal parts of the country, we found that physicians, regardless -- whether they were salaried or they were practice owners, regardless of whether they were specialists or primary care providers, regardless of where they lived -- the support for the public option was broad and widespread."

Like I said, this probably won't undo the congressmen and senators that are owned by the insurance industry and big pharma but physicians' opinions may help swing a few reform skeptics. Of course, I am still a believer in a true single payer system but if a public option is a step in that direction then this is, at least, some good news.

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