Majority of Surveyed Physicians Support Health Reform with Both Public and Private Insurance Options

Sixty-three percent of Mount Sinai physicians support health reform that includes both public and traditional private insurance.

New York, NY
 – September 16, 2009 /Press Release/  –– 

A study of 2,130 physicians by Mount Sinai researchers shows that 63 percent support a health reform proposal that includes both a public option and traditional private insurance. An additional 10 percent of doctors support an entirely public health system. Twenty-seven percent support a private-only option that would provide subsidies for low-income individuals to purchase private insurance.

Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Geriatrics and Adult Development, and Alex Federman, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Medicine, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine also found that the majority of physicians surveyed (58 percent) support expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64.

Drs. Keyhani and Federman surveyed physicians from a variety of practice backgrounds, specialty backgrounds, and geographic locations across the United States between June 25 and September 3. No statistically significant differences were found in responses from different dates. Regardless of region of the country, practice backgrounds, or specialties, a majority of physicians said they support a combination of public and private options.

We analyzed the data in multiple ways to understand physician opinion on health reform, said Dr. Keyhani. "We found that no matter how you sliced the data, physicians demonstrated majority support for a public health insurance option, regardless of their type of practice or where they live."

These results give voice to individual physicians in the national discussion about health reform, said Dr. Federman. "Most often we hear the opinions of special interest groups rather than doctors themselves, but we know that Americans want to hear the opinions of doctors like those who treat them. This study lets us hear the unfiltered views of physicians on key elements of health reform and should be useful for lawmakers."

In addition to identifying views of public and private insurance options, the survey explored physician’s views of how Medicare performed when compared to private insurance. The majority of physicians surveyed found Medicare better or the same as private insurance in decision making autonomy (60 percent) and in ease of obtaining needed services (57 percent). Overall, a plurality (46 percent) of physicians who saw patients whose treatment was covered by Medicare in the past five years consider their experiences with private insurance better than traditional Medicare when it comes to payment, administrative issues, and timeliness of reimbursement.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.