Good news for health care advocates (and that should include ALL social workers): Kaiser Health News is reporting that 56% of U.S. physicians now support a single-payer health care system, and that number is only likely to grow with time. The finding is based on a new survey by Merritt Hawkins, a physician recruitment firm.
Moreover, just in the last year more than 2,500 doctors have endorsed a proposal drafted by the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and published in the American Journal of Public Health, calling for a single-payer system to replace the Affordable Care Act.
While the concept of a single-payer system remains controversial in the U.S., there’s nothing scary, or even unfamiliar, about it. Single-payer simply means that a single public entity pays all medical bills, rather than an army of private, for-profit insurance companies. We already have partial versions of single-payer in the form of Medicare/Medicaid, and the VA. Despite what some scaremongers deceptively insist, single-payer does NOT mean that all health care services would be provided by government.
Why are so many doctors now on board with single-payer? They’re sick and tired of the red tape and the constant hassling with insurance providers. They want to help patients, not spend countless hours jumping through reimbursement hoops.
Virtually every advanced nation has made some version of a public payer-private provider health care system work, with far lower costs and better outcomes than the U.S. So can we.