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Poll Finds That Physicians Long for Political Action
Date:5/28/2008

TAMPA, Fla., May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll of doctors across the country finds that physicians desperately want to play a bigger role in the political process, especially when it comes to health care reform.

As the number of uninsured Americans continues to climb, political candidates are being called upon to make sweeping changes to the U.S. health care system. As a result, doctors say it's more important than ever for them to become more involved in the political process, according to the survey conducted by the American College of Physician Executives.

An overwhelming majority of the more than 760 doctors who responded to the survey said the input of doctors is vital if the health care system is ever truly going to be reformed. A majority also said they vote in every election and many donate money to candidates or causes they support. But they also expressed frustration and cynicism when talking about politics.

"I have given up on the political process," one survey respondent wrote. "Washington fiddles while Rome burns. Hearings regarding steroids in baseball are given more attention than fixing our national disgrace of the uninsured. At best, politicians are 'useful' idiots. At worst, they are venal and utterly unconcerned about the ongoing collapse of our health care 'system.'"

Some of the survey participants said physicians aren't well-suited for politics because they aren't well-organized and have a diverse array of interests. As a result, their message gets lost among the more unified organizations, such as hospitals, insurance companies and trial lawyers.

One doctor called the medical profession "the antithesis" of politics, which is all about making deals and compromising. "We are trained to be analytical and straightforward and to recommend the best course for our patients," the doctor wrote. "We are not used to negotiating for what we think is the best treatment for our patients."

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SOURCE American College of Physician Executives
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