In 1993 the American College of Physicians generated significant backlash from member physicians all over the country. Many physicians quit the American College of Physicians. I recall the CEO, at that time, was forced to resign over the issue of calling for a single party payer.
I can’t believe that the executive committee of the American College of Physicians has once again tried to manipulate public opinion through the media by originally publishing the 2003 article and updating it with a letter from the same authors in 2008.
In my opinion, the original survey was a poor study. The original study and follow-up letter further contaminates the Annals of Internal Medicine and American College of Physicians’ credibility as spokesmen for practicing primary care internists.
Our sound bite society would believe the media headlines “Majority of U.S. doctors back national insurance plan”. The message is clear: The majority of U.S. physicians advocate a single party payer system.
Neither government nor the healthcare insurance industry has appreciated the value of primary care physicians or the importance of the patient physician relationship. Both reimburse inadequately for cognitive therapy. They have not wanted to reward the therapeutic value of the problem solving ability of primary care physicians.
Primary care physicians who have had any practice experience know the difficulties in collecting for services rendered from the government. They have also experienced an endless string of price reductions. Primary care physicians have faced the same problems with the private healthcare insurance industry.
It is hard to believe the majority of physicians in this country want the government (Medicare) as the single party payer for medical care.
The Washington Post article states“A majority of American doctors now support the concept of national health insurance, which represents a shift in thinking over the past five years, a new survey finds." “Typically, national health insurance plans involve a single, federally administered social insurance fund that guarantees health coverage for everyone. In most cases, these plans eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies.”
Unfortunately the media report what the press release tells them has been found in the study.
A larger sample size with a better survey questionnaire might have come to a different conclusion. If one accepts the survey sample and sample size as valid the study shows the percentage of physicians who want universal healthcare coverage but not universal coverage under a government run single party payer system. The press release leads us to the single party payer preference.
The AMA has recommended universal coverage, as do most physicians. The problem of the uninsured is large. However, neither the AMA nor most physicians in private practice recommend the government as a single party payer. Private practitioners understand the problems inherent in government run organizations as do most consumers . In the next blog I will publish the original data and my commentary on the survey results. It will be clear how the data is manipulated to reach conclusions that should not be reached.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.