This is something that has been brewing for a while. I
noticed a trend among medical students, over the years, with increasing
numbers of them expressing support for universal health care in the USA.
Now it is official. A study published in the Annals of
Internal Medicine today (1 April 2008) indicates that, for the first
time, a majority of US physicians now express support for universal
health care coverage.
It isn’t even particularly close. In 2002, 49 percent of
physicians supported national health insurance; 40 percent opposed it.
But in six years, the numbers have changed a lot: 59% support
it; 32% are opposed. The percentage of undecided shrank, from
21 to 19 percent; the number in support grew by 10 percentage points.
The Annals have no open source content, so they
don’t get a link. (If you have access, you already know how
to find it.) The news report is here.
The survey included 2,000 physicians.
The support varied by specialty:
The Indiana survey found that 83 percent of
psychiatrists, 69 percent
of emergency medicine specialists, 65 percent of pediatricians, 64
percent of internists, 60 percent of family physicians and 55 percent
of general surgeons favor a national health insurance plan.
I would have expected the support to be roughly inversely proportional
to salary, with the lower-paid specialties more in support, with the
higher paid ones less in support. I don’t have all the data,
obviously, but it does not look as though that is the trend.
At least not consistently.