Doctors Coming Around To Single-Payer Healthcare – Forbes

Citing simplicity, fewer hassles with insurers and more stable coverage for patients, U.S. physicians increasingly support a single-payer healthcare system, new reports indicate.

A new analysis shows more than half of U.S. physicians support a single payer healthcare system with 42% “strongly” in favor and another 14% “somewhat” supportive, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 doctors by MerrittHawkins, a nationwide healthcare staffing firm. “Physicians appear to have evolved on single payer,” MerrittHawkins senior vice president Travis Singleton said of the poll.

People rally in favor of single-payer healthcare for all Californians outside the office of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, June 27, 2017 in South Gate, California. (Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

The new results are in contrast to 2008 Merritt analysis that showed 58% of doctors opposed single payer and 42% supported it. That analysis was the year Barack Obama was elected President and before the 2009 health reform debate that resulted in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Now, just 35% of U.S. physicians “strongly oppose a single payer system” while six percent are somewhat against it . “Whether they are enthusiastic about it, are merely resigned to it or are just seeking clarity, single payer is a concept many physicians appear to be embracing,” Singleton said in a statement accompanying the survey, which drew from an analysis sent to 70,000 physicians with 1,033 responding. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.1 points.

Doctors and their lobbies are generally supportive of any expansion of healthcare coverage. It’s a key reason why groups like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians aggressively campaigned against Republican-led efforts to repeal the ACA. The GOP’s failed efforts would have replaced the ACA with legislation pushed by the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to reduce coverage by more than 20 million people, according to scores by the Congressional Budget Office of major House and Senate bills.

But physicians are moving in the opposite direction of the GOP-led bills. The MerrittHawkins analysis is only the latest to show doctor support for single-payer or a “Medicare for All form” of health insurance.

Physicians in Chicago’s Cook County and surrounding suburban counties in Illinois are also more open to single-payer than they have been in the past, according to the Chicago Medical Society.

Nearly 67% of Chicago area doctors have a “generally favorable” view of “single-payer financing healthcare system,” like Medicare-for-All, the Chicago Medical Society said. Its poll, published in June, included responses from more than 1,000 physicians.

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