The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) yesterday released its annual Physician Workforce Study (a survey of 1,000 practicing physicians in the state), which, as in recent years, showed very serious shortages in primary care. However, buried deeper in the report, for the first time ever, the MMS asked doctors what they think about health reform.
The results? Doctors picked single payer health reform over a public option, over high-deductible plans, over the Massachusetts health reform – in short, over every other option presented. Strikingly, of all the options presented, modeling national health reform on the Massachusetts health care law (which is what actually happened) received the least support – even less support than eroding insurance coverage with high deductible plans.
Respondents were asked to pick only one of five options – although many probably support multiple of these options. Here are the results, quoted in full:
A new question was added to the Practicing Physician Survey this year to document how physicians view upcoming system changes in health care reform. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the comprehensive health reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It should be noted that these questions were prepared and responded to prior to the passing of that Act. The following question was asked of each of the respondents:
Which of the following options should be included in U.S. health care reform? (Please read each of the following options carefully and check only one.)
1. Single-payer national health care system offering universal health care to all U.S. residents – 34%
2. Both public and private plans with a public buy-in option (allow businesses and individuals to enroll in a public Medicare-like health insurance plan that would compete with private plans) – 32%
3. Keep the existing mix of public and private plans, but allow insurers to sell plans with limited benefits and high deductibles to keep premiums low. State subsidies would help low-income individuals buy insurance. Individuals could choose to buy a less expensive catastrophic plan, more expensive comprehensive coverage, or no insurance at all. – 17%
4. Model health care reform on the Massachusetts health law of 2006, offering a national insurance exchange, government subsidies to low-income people to purchase health insurance, a mandate requiring residents who are not eligible for subsidized health plans to buy insurance or be fined, and fine employers who do not offer adequate health care plans to their employees. – 14%
5. Other (please specify). – 3%
You can download the full report, which includes responses to this question broken out by age, gender, practice size, specialty, and more, on the MMS web-site here, pages 86-90.