U.S. Physicians’ Views on Financing Options to Expand Health Insurance Coverage: A National Survey

Department of Medicine, Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 02/2009; 24(4):526-31. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-009-0916-x
Source: PubMed


Physician opinion can influence the prospects for health care reform, yet there are few recent data on physician views on reform proposals or access to medical care in the United States.
To assess physician views on financing options for expanding health care coverage and on access to health care.
Nationally representative mail survey conducted between March 2007 and October 2007 of U.S. physicians engaged in direct patient care.
Rated support for reform options including financial incentives to induce individuals to purchase health insurance and single-payer national health insurance; rated views of several dimensions of access to care.
1,675 of 3,300 physicians responded (50.8%). Only 9% of physicians preferred the current employer-based financing system. Forty-nine percent favored either tax incentives or penalties to encourage the purchase of medical insurance, and 42% preferred a government-run, taxpayer-financed single-payer national health insurance program. The majority of respondents believed that all Americans should receive needed medical care regardless of ability to pay (89%); 33% believed that the uninsured currently have access to needed care. Nearly one fifth of respondents (19.3%) believed that even the insured lack access to needed care. Views about access were independently associated with support for single-payer national health insurance.
The vast majority of physicians surveyed supported a change in the health care financing system. While a plurality support the use of financial incentives, a substantial proportion support single payer national health insurance. These findings challenge the perception that fundamental restructuring of the U.S. health care financing system receives little acceptance by physicians.

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    • "This may be a point to exercise pressure, by developing a system not paying the physician by the number of measures prescribed, but by the quality of care, reflecting his patients' health status. McCormick et al. [34] found that only 9.1% of US-physicians probed support the status quo, while reform proposals like adding tax credits or tax penalties (49.2%) or single payer NHI programs (41.6%) are favoured. When raising OOPP is necessary due to fiscal reasons, it should occur in relation to the patient's income. "
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