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Two-thirds of Minnesota doctors favor single-payer health system
The study, published in the latest issue of Minnesota Medicine, found that 63.4 percent of state physicians believe that a single-payer universal health insurance system would offer the best health care to the greatest number of people. Almost 25 percent (24.6) of Minnesota physicians thought Health Savings Account systems were best, and 11.8 percent were in favor of managed care.
"This study shows that the majority of physicians support a shift in our health care system," said Dr. James Hart, co-author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "Governments have the potential to do an excellent job administering health insurance in a way that is much more fair and affordable than our current fragmented system."
A large majority of Minnesota physicians (86.2 percent) believe that it is society's responsibility, via the government, to ensure access to good medical care for all, regardless of ability to pay.
Fifty-nine percent rejected allowing the insurance industry to continue playing a dominant role in the delivery of medical care.
"Millions of people who are uninsured avoid health care all together until they are desperately ill," said Dr. Charles Oberg, study co-author and associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "Many doctors are becoming increasingly disappointed and frustrated with the health care system as it stands. Insurance hassles, heavy paperwork, and patients' inability to get the care they need make it very problematic."
Advocates for universal health care hope the study spurs action by lawmakers.
"Our finding that a large majority of physicians support single-payer universal health insurance could provide the impetus for making it a reality in Minnesota, particularly if physicians began to publicly advocate for their views," said Joel Albers, Ph.D., a study author and health economics researcher with the Universal Health Care Action Network of Minnesota.
In addition, 71 percent of Minnesota doctors said they would accept a 10 percent reduction in fees for a "very significant" reduction in paperwork, and 63.8 percent favored physician payment under a salary system.
Researchers mailed surveys with questions on health care financing and medical practice to a random sample of 1,061 Minnesota physicians drawn from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Thirty-nine percent (408) of the surveys were completed and returned. Data was compiled and analyzed by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
This study was funded by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the Universal Health Care Action Network-MN.
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