A poll conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly 80 percent of American doctors favor the public option in health care reform. The Journal mailed a confidential questionnaire to 2,000 practicing US physicians 65 or younger to explore whether they endorse a public role for the profession.
Respondents were asked to indicate their agreement or disagreement with the following statements:
The Journal also asked physicians to indicate whether they objected to using cost-effectiveness data to determine which treatments will be offered to patients.More than half the doctors answered. The results:
Physicians were divided almost equally about cost-effectiveness analysis. More than half (54%) reported having a moral objection to using such data "to determine which treatments will be offered to patients."
Interestingly, age, race, and region didn't seem to affect opinions. Female doctors were more likely than males to object to using cost-effectiveness data to guide treatment decisions but otherwise did not differ on other questions.
There were differences in opinion based on the doctor's specialty. Surgeons, procedural specialists, and those in nonclinical specialties were all significantly less likely than primary care providers to favor reform that expands access to basic health care by reducing reimbursement for expensive drugs and procedures.
There were also consistent differences between self-described liberals and conservatives. The 28% of physicians who called themselves conservative were consistently less enthusiastic about professional responsibilities pertaining to health care reform.
The data suggest that some of the more controversial elements currently appearing in reform proposals will likely face serious opposition from segments of the medical profession, including:
The Journal concludes: