01 April 2008

I have no idea what to make of this

But it's interesting.

According to a survey published in AIM, 59% of physicians favor legislation to establish national health insurance.

Predictably, Physicians for a National Health Care Program jumped right out there claiming that doctors support single payer, which I think is not at all supported by the study, which did not even try to define the type of national plan. Moreover, that 55% support "incremental" reform probably indicates underwhelming enthusiasm for single payer.

While there's some reliability in comparing this poll to a similar one in 2002 and concluding that support among docs for reform is building, I just can't accept it at face value. The responder bias alone probably undercuts the validity -- the docs most enthusiastic for reform are much more likely to take the time to fill out a survey.

Still, interesting.


  1. Wow, that was a reserved (and, I think wholly correct) summation of the article.

    Who are you, and what did you do with Shadowfax?


  2. It is so disappointing when you see something you support, "supported" with bogus evidence.

  3. GD --

    Are you more surprised at the reserved tone or the correct interpretation?

    Jim2 --

    It's not bogus per se, I just saw the headline and said "aha!" but then realized it wasn't as awesome as I would have hoped. Oh well. You wind up looking bad if you get out ahead of the evidence

  4. You're wise to be cautious on this one. The lead author of this "survey" is a Board member of PNHP.

    And it gets worse: The survey involves a self-selected subset of another subset (AMA physicians), which means it isn't statistically valid or representative of docs in general.

    Methinks we have another piece of single-payer agitprop here.

  5. In Saskatchewan (yes, I know, "bless you") the single-payer system started in Canada in 1969.

    Although there were fair fee-for service payment rates, physician fear about a powerful single payer was so great that there was a mass walkout.

    Nevertheless, the system was so successful over the next several years that other provinces adopted similar ones. Today, most Canadian MDs understand they could make more money in a private system, but they seem to like the public one.

    I guess the trick will be trying to get the government to pay something sensible for your services.

  6. More or less you have to take these polls with a grain of salt.


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