A random survey of 2,130 physicians found that 73 percent support a public option as one element of healthcare reform legislation. That breaks down to 63 percent of physicians supporting both public and private options; 10 percent supporting a public option only; and 27 percent favoring private options only. The poll was conducted by New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine internists and researchers Dr. Salomeh Keyhani and Dr. Alex Federman.
The majority of physicians who favor giving their patients a choice of public or private insurance are in tune with President Barack Obama’s position and that of many congressional Democrats. Polls of average Americans have found that between 50 and 70 percent support a public option. In other words, physicians support the public option more strongly than the general population. This contradicts one of the canards of the healthcare debate – that doctors will resist reform for fear of seeing their incomes erode.
“Whether they lived in southern regions of the United States or traditionally liberal parts of the country, we found that physicians – whether they were salaried or they were practice owners, regardless of whether they were specialists of primary care providers, regardless of where they lived – the support for the public option was broad and widespread,” Dr. Keyhani said.
The survey was published Monday, September 14, in the online New England Journal of Medicine. It was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a healthcare research organization that supports reform legislation.