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Survey: Most Docs Back Single Payer

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
08/15/17  10:43 AM PST
Single Payer

By John Commins for Health Leaders Media

A plurality of physicians strongly supports a single payer healthcare system, according to a survey by physician recruiters Merritt Hawkins.

The survey of 1,033 physicians indicates that 42% strongly support a single payer healthcare system while 14% are somewhat supportive. Thirty-five percent strongly oppose a single payer system while 6% are somewhat against it. The remaining 3% are neutral on the issue.

The results are a near-exact inversion of a national survey of physicians Merritt Hawkins conducted in 2008, which found that 58% of physicians opposed single payer and 42% supported it.

Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president of the American College of Physicians, said he was not surprised to see the shift in physicians’ attitudes toward single payer, and said that “several factors are in play here.”

“First, the proportion of physicians in private practice vs. employed-salaried positions has decreased, so there is less concern with direct reimbursement,” Ende said in an email exchange with HealthLeaders Media. “Second, the average age of physicians has decreased, and along with that there has been a generational decrease in concern about physician autonomy and economic independence.”

“And third, the recent ‘sturm und drang’ of the healthcare imbroglio over the ACA has made physicians somewhat distrustful of leaving healthcare to the whims of politicians, and more aligned with settling this issue once and for all with a system that will provide universal access to healthcare, and enable us to move forward, i.e. with a single payer system,” Ende said. “And so we find a more egalitarian, socially committed physician community that is more comfortable with a government controlled system of payment than was the case in 2008.”

Merritt Hawkins Vice President of Communications Phil Miller, responded by email to a query from HealthLeaders Media, and offered a handful of theories for the inversion.

Read the Full Article at Health Leaders Media.

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