One of the common refrains from those opposing health care reform is that they don’t want a government bureaucrat getting between them and their doctor, but what do an overwhelming majority of physicians prescribe for fixing our nation’s broken health care system…?
Among all the players in the health care debate, doctors may be the least understood about where they stand on some of the key issues around changing the health care system. Now, a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.
[…] 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.
That’s right, nearly three-quarters of doctors support a public option in one form or another, because more than their patients, they know how thoroughly broken the current system is. Support for a public option was “broad and widespread,” occurring at rough equal levels amongst all categories of doctors, and in rural and urban areas alike.
“Whether they lived in southern regions of the United States or traditionally liberal parts of the country,” says Keyhani, “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.”
Support was widespread even amongst rank and file members of the AMA, which as an organization has lobbied against a public option. And what explains this surprising consensus?
Keyhani says doctors already have experience with government-run health care, with Medicare. And she says the survey shows that, overall, they like it. “We’ve heard a lot about how the government is standing in between patients and their physician,” Keyhani says. “And what we can see is that physicians support Medicare. So I think physicians have sort of signaled that a public option that’s similar in design to Medicare would be a good way of ensuring patients get the care that they need.”
We trust our doctors to make life and death decisions… to cut us open and reach inside our own bodies to mend or remove our parts. But will we trust our doctors to recommend the best health care reform alternatives?
You can listen to the NPR report below: