Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH; Aaron E. Carroll, MD, MS
Data about U.S. physicians' attitudes toward a national health insurance program are lacking.
This survey of U.S. physicians suggests that 49% support national health insurance and 26% support federal financing of all care under such a program. With the exception of family practitioners, anesthesiologists, and surgical subspecialists, more than half of physicians in major specialties supported national health insurance. Support was highest among pediatricians, psychiatrists, and general internists.
Support of a national health insurance program is substantial among U.S. physicians but varies by specialty. Support of federal financing is less enthusiastic. This information will help to inform proposals for health insurance reform.
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Catherine H Kassens
March 31, 2008
Misleading Study on National Health
I question the accuracy of the data obtained in your study of physician support for a national health insurance program. Getting good quality data would require getting a crossection of physicians who are in active practice. The study may also have been biased by a difference in practicioners who chose to respond. If the study is truly representative of the opinion of US physicians, they need to travel abroad and see similar systems firsthand. Having seen medical systems in action in countries where the government pays for medical care, I know that patients and physicians in the US will be very sorry if they get what they think they want.
Edward J. Volpintesta
April 13, 2008
National Health Plan: Now
That unprecedented numbers of physicians are in favor of a national health insurance program attests to their desperation. Unfair reimbursement and excessive administrative hassles =have finally taken their toll.
With government regulation a single clearing house will be provided for physicians grievances. The multitude of private insurers to which doctors are accountable forces them to spend too much time on too many fronts. This is exemplified by the frequent reports seen in the media of lawsuits by physician groups against private insurers defending themselves against unfair contracts, economic credentialing, and ranking of physicians into tiered networks. What's more, the powerful lobbying position of insurers almost guarantees them the upper hand in negotiations with doctors.
Clearly, the time has come for a national insurance program. Without government regulation, doctors and patients have no recourse to address their grievances. For those who look at national health plans elsewhere and focus on their deficiencies, it is important to remember that an American system will be unique and need not have the weaknesses that exist in other countries.
Edward J. Volpintest MD
Ackermann RT, Carroll AE. Support for National Health Insurance among U.S. Physicians: A National Survey. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:795-801. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-10-200311180-00006
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(10):795-801.
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