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Indiana U. expert says nation's physicians support national health insurance

INDIANAPOLIS President Barak Obama speaks to the American Medical Association (AMA) today addressing concerns about health insurance reform and the whole nation, including physicians from coast to coast, is listening.

"A general consensus seems to exist that the AMA will not support a public health insurance, option. Since the AMA bills itself as "the voice of physicians," by taking an anti-public insurance stance, the AMA is fostering the notion that a majority of physicians would be against comprehensive health care reform, including a public option. But our research indicates that on this issue, the AMA is not speaking for physicians," said Aaron Carroll, M.D., on Monday in response to Obama's speech at the AMA. Dr. Carroll is director of the Indiana University Center for Health Policy and Professionalism (CHPPR), associate professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children.

A study conducted by CHPPR at the Indiana University School of Medicine and published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 59 percent of physicians would support government legislation for National Health Insurance, a much more radical type of reform than that proposed by the Obama administration. Only 32 percent of physicians opposed national health insurance, according to the study.

The CHPPR survey of 2,200 physicians showed a 10 percent increase in support for national health insurance from a previous survey. Nearly every medical specialty showed an increase in levels of support for national health insurance. With the exception of radiologists, anesthesiologists and surgical subspecialists, a majority of every medical specialty now support national health insurance, according to the study.

"While the AMA may oppose a public insurance option, there is no evidence that physicians do," said Dr. Carroll, a health services researcher who is a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist.


Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
Indiana University

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