The Doctors' Revolt

by Chris Sturr | July 03, 2008

Ida Hellander, executive director of Physicians for a National Health Program, emailed us recently with praise for Paying More, Getting Less, from our May/June issue. She called the article “very clear and compelling. It will be very, very useful to all of us in the single payer movement… Thanks again for publishing this article. I’ve wanted something like this for many years!”

In fact, a solid majority of U.S. doctors now support a single-payer system, as reported in a web-only piece posted to the American Prospect website on Tuesday:

The Doctors’ Revolt

Doctors, the traditional advocates for the medical status quo, are increasingly in favor of major reforms to the U.S. health-care system.

Roger Bybee | July 1, 2008 | web only

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 Health Research 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. Read more…

Visit the new health care links page on our site for more articles from D&S on health care, and for links to national and state-level organizations working for single-payer.

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