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Survey: 42% of Physicians Strongly Support a Single Payer Healthcare System, 35% are Strongly Opposed

Posted by Anonymous at 8/14/2017 7:54:17 AM

Here are Four Reasons Why

Survey: 42% of Physicians Strongly Support a Single Payer Healthcare System, 35% are Strongly Opposed

By Phillip Miller

A plurality of physicians strongly support a single payer healthcare system, according to a new survey by Merritt Hawkins.

The survey of 1,033 physicians indicates that 42 percent strongly support a single payer health care system while 14 percent are somewhat supportive. Over one-third (35 percent) strongly oppose a single payer system while six percent are somewhat against it. The remaining three percent neither support nor oppose single payer. This infographic shows results of the survey.

The results contrast with a national survey of physicians Merritt Hawkins conducted in 2008, which indicated that 58 percent of physicians opposed single payer at that time while 42 percent supported it.

In Merritt Hawkins’ experience, there are four reasons why a growing number of physicians are in favor of single payer. First, they are seeking clarity and stability. The fits and starts of health reform and the growing complexity of our current hybrid system are a daily strain on most doctors. Many of them believe that a single payer healthcare system will reduce the distractions and allow them to focus on what they have paid a high price to do: care for patients.

Second, it’s a generational issue. The various surveys that Merritt Hawkins has conducted for The Physicians Foundation in the past show that younger doctors are more accepting of Obamacare, ACOs, EHR, and change in general than are older physicians As the new generation of physicians comes up, there is less resistance among doctors to single payer.

Third, there is a feeling of resignation rather than enthusiasm among some physicians about single payer. These physicians believe we are drifting toward single payer and would just as soon get it over with. The 14% of physicians surveyed who said they "somewhat" support single payer are probably in this group.

Fourth, there is a philosophical change among physicians that I think the public and political leaders on both sides of the aisle now share, which is that we should make an effort to cover as many people as possible.

However, while single payer has gained acceptance among some physicians, it remains strongly opposed by over one third and strongly or somewhat opposed by over 40 percent. It is still a polarizing issue among physicians and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. I welcome any reader comments about the survey and would like to hear what others have to say about a single payer healthcare system.

Phillip Miller is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, Companies of AMN Healthcare. He can be reached here.

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i am a 73 year old oncologist who has strongly supported single payer since the managed care revolution in the 1980s. i saw such poor care with that system all based on profit and not concern for patients. also the rising cost of medicine will rapidly and eventually destroy our entire economy. i see this so drastically in oncology where a treatment for malignant melanoma is being testing with the drug company charging more than one million dollars per year. single payer would absolutely have a pathway to negotiate and control costs primarily by insisting that any approved new treatment needs to dramatically be more effectiv.
Posted by: lee schwartz at 9/19/2017 10:40:56 AM
Be careful what you wish for! That's it. Those who never experienced the freedom to practice medicine, have a real doctor-patient relationship, don't know any different. I teach residents and see it every day. Oblivious to autonomy. Only knows big brother. So, I am not totally surprised by the poll. Although, I would like to see their methodology. Despite the young doctors in training, I find most in my part of the country still don't want single payer. Especially those seeing medicare patients see what that would entail.
Posted by: Darrin at 9/19/2017 1:28:52 PM
The results show same 58% still do not agree with single payor.I agree the system needs to be changed . We see the way governments in England Canada and other democracies abuse doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.Follow the fight in the recent BMJ . I have worked in government run and managed systems so I caution physicians and patients on giving up their ability to influence provision and supervision of "care".Ask yourself how much control over Medicare and Medicare like plans do you have as a physician or as a patient "user". We have enough smart people to provide a basic plan for all citizens -the rest of the "industry" will have to negotiate and accept free market consumer based utilization.
Posted by: Gary Keogh at 9/21/2017 3:57:32 AM
There is no such thing as a single payer system. Even in a system designed to have a single payer, the "rich" will pay privately for the care they desire creating a 2 tiered system. Those with the financial resources to do so will obtain premium care and the rest of us will muddle through the system. The myth of single payer health care does not provide "care" but "coverage" much as the AFA provided "coverage" that remains largely unusable. Additionally, a single payer system, a medical monopoly, will dangerously restrict treatment availability, freedom of treatment choices, and give the 'payer' (the government) full control of the health care option of those who have the system force upon them. In every other industry we fight the development of monopolies to encourage competition, excellence, and cost control- "single payer" ANYTHING breeds complacency, mediocrity, wastefulness, and laziness. I don't think that's what we want for health care.
Posted by: Russel Rhea at 9/22/2017 7:48:53 AM

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