Single-Payer Health Care System Supported by Many Massachusetts Physicians, Survey Finds
Most physicians in Massachusetts support a national single-payer health care system and would accept a 10% reduction in fees in exchange for less paperwork, according to a survey published Tuesday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Boston Globe reports. The survey, conducted by four physicians affiliated with Harvard Medical School, included interviews with 904 Massachusetts physicians at teaching hospitals and in private practice. According to the survey, 63% of respondents cited a single-payer health care system as the "best option"; the survey also found that 26% cited a fee-for-service system and that 11% cited a managed care system, the Globe reports. The survey found that psychiatrists and primary care physicians indicated the most support for a single-payer health system and that surgeons indicated the least support. In addition, the survey found that 67% of respondents said they would accept a 10% reduction in fees in exchange for a "very substantial reduction" in paperwork and that 57% said they would support a salary system, provided that salaries are "guaranteed to be within 10% of their previous incomes."
Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the survey had some problems. He said that the survey did not adequately define a single-payer health care system and that single-payer and managed care systems "are not mutually exclusive," the Globe reports. "Physicians would like to see people covered, but given a choice how to do it, they might pick other ways," Blendon said, adding, "There's no question, though, that they'd like to get rid of managed care" (Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, 2/10). An abstract of the survey is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.