News Release

New Study: Majority of Doctors Want National Health Insurance

The largest survey ever conducted among doctors on the issue of healthcare financing reform just found that 59 percent of doctors “support government legislation to establish national health insurance,” while 32 percent oppose it and 9 percent are neutral.

Such plans typically involve a single, federally administered social insurance fund that guarantees healthcare coverage for everyone, much like Medicare currently does for seniors. The plans typically eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies in the healthcare financing system, but still allow patients to go to the doctors of their choice.

The new findings reflect an increase of 10 percent in physician support for national health insurance since 2002, when a similar survey was conducted. The full study, which was published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal, is available online.

RONALD ACKERMANN, MD
Ackermann, associate director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University’s School of Medicine and co-author of the study, said today: “Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy.” An estimated 47 million Americans currently lack health insurance coverage and another 50 million are believed to be underinsured. At the same time, healthcare costs in the United States are rising at a rate of about 7 percent a year, twice the rate of inflation.

AARON CARROLL, MD
Carroll, director of Indiana University’s Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research and lead author of the study, commented: “Many claim to speak for physicians and reflect their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support the government creating national health insurance.”

DAVID HIMMELSTEIN, MD
Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, is a health policy expert (but not an author of the new study). He said today: “When Clinton, McCain and Obama propose incremental health reforms like mandates and tax credits, they are not responding to physicians’ concerns, but to those of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Doctors are telling them that we need single-payer national health insurance to give all of our patients quality, affordable health care.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167