By Calvin Palmer
Most doctors in the United States approve of President Barack Obama’s “public option” to supplement private health care insurance, according to a poll published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Of the physicians who participated in the survey, 62.9 percent said they favored a public option, or government insurance plan, against 27.3 percent backing a private system alone.
The doctors backing a private system must all live in northeast Florida if the Letters Page and opinion columns of The Florida Times-Union are to be believed. On an almost daily basis some physician puts pen to paper to air statistics, which are never substantiated, to show how Obama’s “socialist” reforms will destroy the finest health care system in the world.
These testaments to the status quo also trot out the usual mantra of big government and comparisons between the government-run United States Postal Service and how it compares unfavorably and inefficiently to the privately-owned FedEx.
The Florida Times-Union will be perplexed to the point of a catatonic trance, no change there then, to learn that another 9.6 percent of the physicians in the survey favored a completely government-owned health care coverage system.
“It’s clear that the majority of U.S. physicians support both public and private options to expand coverage,” NEJM said, noting that between 52 and 69 percent of Americans favor a supplemental public option.
The journal described physicians as “critical stakeholders” in health care reform.
The poll also found that 58.3 percent of physicians favor expanding Medicare, the public health insurance plan for seniors over 65 years old, to people aged 55 and over. This option is among a set of proposals being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
In the traditionally more conservative South, 58.9 percent of U.S. physicians favored a public option, compared to 69.7 percent in the generally more progressive Northeast.
The journal surveyed 2,130 general physicians, specialists and surgeons who work in a private practice or with hospital groups.
A Washington Post-ABC News opinion poll shows 46 percent of Americans in favor of the proposed changes and 48 percent opposed.
The Florida Times-Union will no doubt take comfort that its right-wing Republican propaganda, and misinformation, is having some success.
Given the parlous financial state of Morris Publishing Group, publisher of The Florida Times-Union, the right-wing members of its editorial board may wish to tone down the virtues of the free market because it could prove to be their nemesis and leave them without a job and without health care insurance; exactly the kind of people Obama’s reforms are designed to help.
Wouldn’t that be just one of the best examples of Schadenfreude in recent times?
[Based on a report by AFP.]