...And what it tells us about the source of opposition to the public option.
So I heard about this story on NPR's Morning Edition this morning and found it again on the Washington Post. The highlights are that some MDs and MPH types did a survey for the Robert Wood Johnson Center. They surveyed doctors in the US and asked them if they supported or opposed a public option, a public single payer or the status quo. A whopping 62.9% of them support a public option. Only 27.3% support a reform bill that does not include a public option. OK, ho hum. That's probably not that dissimilar from levels of support among similarly educated people (i.e. people with post-graduate degrees). But where the poll got interesting was where it talked about what doctors liked and disliked about the public (Medicare) and private insurance providers.
The doctors preferred private insurance for ease of paper work and because of how much they get paid. But they preferred Medicare for health care provision and minimal interference in their medical decisions. From this I speculate that many of the doctors who oppose a public option do so because they fear they will lose money or for other reasons completely unrelated to the provision of actual health care to patients.
It also shows you who the insurance companies feel then need to keep happy. They take pains to make payment and paper work doctor friendly. But go out of their way to set up a system that actually denies care as the default condition. They serve their own interests which is understandable. But the only group they seem interested in keeping happy is doctors. And they seem to have won over about a quarter of them.
Whether or not we get a public option is probably a finished debate now. We're not going to get it. And I doubt that if it had been released a month ago it would have done much to change the debate. The Tea-baggers, Birthers and Deathers and their backers in the Republican party and the Insurance industry had a plan to hijack the debate regardless of any references to reality or evidence. But it is interesting to see this poll now. It gives yet another piece of evidence about the nature of the opposition to health care reform. A lot of people have been making a lot of money on the status quo for a long time and they have used that money to acquire political influence and power. They won't go quietly into the night.