MDs Back National Healthcare

According to a recent survey by the Indiana University School of Medicine, more than half of the nation's physicians would welcome a national health insurance program. In contrast to the last such survey, done six years ago, 59% of US doctors now say they favor national health insurance

“The miserable hath no other medicine but hope.”

—William Shakespeare

According to a recent survey by the Indiana University School of Medicine, more than half of the nation’s physicians would welcome a national health insurance program. In contrast to the last such survey, done six years ago, 59% of US doctors now say they favor national health insurance and only 32% oppose it. In the 2002 survey, just under half of the doctors supported national health insurance and 40% opposed it.

Support for a national health insurance plan varied by specialty, with 83% of psychiatrists in favor compared to 65% of pediatricians, 64% of internists, 60% of family physicians, and 55% of general surgeons. Researchers theorized that doctors are discovering that patients are not getting adequate medical care because of high deductibles, copays, and other restrictions, not to mention the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance at all.

Although all of the contenders in the 2008 presidential election race have called for healthcare reform, none has espoused a fully national health insurance plan. Critics of national health insurance plans have pointed out that patients in countries that do have such plans, like Great Britain and Canada, often experience long waits for routine care and even longer waits for specialized care like elective surgery. And further complicating things are happenings in Massachusetts, where the country's first mandated health insurance program has run into numerous problems. This includes huge cost overruns and difficulties with newly insured Bay Staters getting an appointment with a primary care doctor.

Some industry observers also believe that universal healthcare is on a collision course with the looming shortage of doctors, especially in the primary care specialties. The Association of American Medical Colleges has predicted that, in 10 years, the United States will be short 85,000 to 200,000 doctors, as an aging physician population retires and medical schools produce fewer graduates who plan to specialize in general medicine.

60%Percentage of Americans who say Medicare is “socialized medicine.”(Harvard School of Public Health, 2008)