Most doctors support public health care option

A survey of 2,130 physicians across the nation found 63 percent favor a public-private option for patients over a strictly private health care system or public. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday and was conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

“There should be no confusion about where doctors stand in the debate over expanding health insurance coverage: they want reform,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a press release yesterday. “This survey reveals important information about the perspective of physicians on issues central to the health reform debate. Policy makers should listen to their doctors.”

And 58.3 percent of the doctors who answered the survey also favored expanding Medicare to cover people from age 55 and 64, right now Medicare generally speaking only covers those 65 and older. However, physicians felt that private insurance companies paid doctors on time, dealt with paperwork better, and with less hassles than Medicare does.

But while physicians want reform, the study did not ask questions about what specific items the doctors would like to see in a public-private option. The study reads that the American Medical Association has come out to support the House bill and that their "data suggest that the organization’s current support of the House proposal that includes a public-private option is consistent with the views of its members." However that statement could be rather generalist considering there were no specific question and answers asking about the said House bill. Also, the foundation running the survey is a very outspoken backer of health care reform. That all said, the study does show that a number of physicians see a need for reform and want to see a public health option made available.

Read the full report here.

Read NPR's story and listen to their podcast

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