Polls of doctors inRead the rest of the interview here.
Minnesota(Feb., 2007) and (2004) both show a remarkable 64 percent favoring a single-payer plan. What accounts for this historic shift in the sentiment of doctors, when you think back to how the American Medical Association successfully mobilized doctors in every community to block Harry Truman's health reform effort? This new polling seems extraordinary; both because doctors' support for single-payer is just slightly below the general public's and because doctors are presumably much more knowledgeable about health systems than the average citizen. How do you see things developing among doctors and the health industry? Massachusetts
The opposition in Truman's era was the medical profession, and the AMA still is opposed even though a high percentage of doctors support a single-payer plan.
But now there are two other powerful forces: the health insurance industry [that emerged since the Truman plan] and the pharmaceutical companies. Under a single-payer plan, the government steps into the pharmaceutical pricing picture with a lot of bargaining power, so both of these forces feel threatened.It's ironic that hospitals aren't more supportive. The health insurance industry would be put out of business, so it's life or death for them. But hospitals would still be there. Some for-profit hospitals oppose national health insurance, and our plan calls for reconversion to non-profit status. With the non-profit hospitals, I think opposition to single-payer is mostly fear of change. I think that they can live with a single-payer national health insurance plan, so I don't see them as our biggest enemy.
Monday, August 06, 2007
TAP interviews Dr Steffie Woolhandler
Roger Bybee, writing for The American Prospect, talks with Dr Steffie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, on whether or not we've got a snowball's chance in Florida of switching to single-payer health care system.