Wednesday, July 2, 2008

59% OF DOCTORS SUPPORT SINGLE PAYER

Roger Bybee, Prospect Doctors have historically been the watchdogs of the U.S. medical system, with the American Medical Association scaring New Dealers into dropping national health coverage from the Social Security Act and then the AMA shredding Harry Truman's reform efforts in the late 1940s. But a new poll and other significant indicators suggest that doctors are turning against the health- insurance firms that increasingly dominate American health care.

The latest sign is a poll published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine showing that 59 percent of U.S. doctors support a "single payer" plan that essentially eliminates the central role of private insurers. Most industrial societies -- including nations as diverse as Taiwan, France, and Canada -- have adopted universal health systems that provide health care to all citizens and permit them free choice of their doctors and hospitals. These plans are typically funded by a mix of general tax revenues and payroll taxes, and essential health-care is administered by nonprofit government agencies rather than private insurers.

The new poll, conducted by Indiana University's Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research, shows a sharp 10 percent spike in the number of doctors supporting national insurance: 59 percent in 2007 compared to 49 percent five years earlier. This indicates that more physicians are eager for systematic changes, said Toledo physician Dr. Johnathon Ross, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program. "What this means is the usual bloc of anti-reform is breaking up," he told The Toledo Blade. "These doctors are looking in the eyes of sick [uninsured] patients every day."

The poll results underscore mounting signs that doctors are resenting the increasingly short leash on which they are held by insurers and large hospital chains, the current masters of American medicine. And, increasingly, doctors seem to be showing support for a single-payer system that would essentially eliminate for-profit insurers and curb the power of big provider chains.

The ever-accelerating corporatization of health care is producing a seismic shift in the way that doctors look at universal health care. Doctors are experiencing an extreme and relatively sudden loss of control at the hands of insurers and hospital networks, while being snowed under by paperwork and bureaucratic battles with insurance companies over authorizations and payments.

2 Comments:

At July 2, 2008 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I favor single payer, too, but I have some doubts about it. Why should we expect a not for profit government agency to be any less stingy than private insurers? Taking Social Security disability payments (which don't even cover the average disabled person's medical care, much less living expenses) and Medicare (which arbitrarily refuses to cover any number of medications, treatments, and devices) as our examples, it's clear that there will be just as many problems with an American single-payer system as we have now.

 
At July 7, 2008 5:38 PM, Anonymous life insurance broker Toronto said...

I have to agree. Our doctors have similar opinion - take a look at this article on Toronto term life about how doctors alled on the federal and provincial governments to immediately take all necessary steps to stop the spread of private health insurance. You may find it interesting.
Take care!
Lorne

 

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