In a survey conducted throughout this long, hot political summer, 73% of doctors said they want a public option. 63% want the public option alongside current pricate insurers; 10% bite the bullet and say they'd take a system where there is nothing but public health insurance.
Oh, but you can't trust surveys. They must have interviewed only hippie doctors in San Francisco, right?
The researchers say they found strong support for a public option among all categories of doctors. "We even saw that support being the same whether physicians lived in rural areas or metropolitan areas," says Federman.
"Whether they lived in southern regions of the United States or traditionally liberal parts of the country," says Keyhani, "we found that physicians, regardless — whether they were salaried or they were practice owners, regardless of whether they were specialists or primary care providers, regardless of where they lived — the support for the public option was broad and widespread" [Joseph Shapiro, "Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option," NPR.org, 2009.09.15].
But don't doctors know that government will get in between them and their pateints?
Keyhani says doctors already have experience with government-run health care, with Medicare. And she says the survey shows that, overall, they like it. "We've heard a lot about how the government is standing in between patients and their physician," Keyhani says. "And what we can see is that physicians support Medicare. So I think physicians have sort of signaled that a public option that's similar in design to Medicare would be a good way of ensuring patients get the care that they need" [Shapiro, 2009.09.15].
Our Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin keeps saying the public option is a "deal breaker." SHS evidently needs to see her doctor.
Update 13:02 CDT: Badlands Blue catches the news, too, and notes that AMA members seem to like the public option, even though their powerful leadership has rumbled to the contrary.