Nearly half of physicians support single-payer system

This article was originally published here

The current healthcare landscape is ever-changing, complex, fragmented and a thousand other adjectives. From cybersecurity to quality, policy changes to rising drug costs, there are myriad issues in the industry that are worth addressing.

For physicians, the complicated healthcare environment is only exacerbated by the country’s current insurance system. A recent LinkedIn survey found 48 percent of physicians support a single-payer healthcare system, according to a post by LinkedIn’s healthcare news editor Beth Kutscher.

“It was a surprising number,” Kutscher told MedCity in a phone interview.


Another 32 percent of respondents were opposed to the idea of a single-payer system and 21 percent said they didn’t know.

The survey, which was part of a larger LinkedIn survey, was conducted between February 7 and February 19. A total of 511 United States physicians responded, 449 of whom are currently practicing. The participants, who come from various specialties, were selected at random. All the respondents noted in their profile that they have an MD degree, Kutscher said.

Why do almost half of the surveyed physicians favor a single-payer system? Some pointed to patients who move from provider to provider through the years.

“There was also a strong human rights theme that came out of the survey,” Kutscher said.

Other respondents noted the inconvenience of negotiating with numerous insurance companies. This frustration was fairly common. Fifty-four percent of physicians claimed they spent time negotiating with insurers. “It’s notable that more than half are actually doing it themselves,” Kutscher said. On average, they spent about four hours per week doing so. “That’s time out of their day. If all patients were in a single platform, [physicians] wouldn’t have to worry about these things,” Kutscher added.

Additionally, 64 percent of respondents said they’ve put new measures into place to ensure payment from patients with high-deductible health plans. Thirty-three percent said they offer payment plans, while 26 percent demand upfront payment. Another 19 percent said they bring on additional team members such as financial counselors to ensure timely payment from HDHP patients.

What about the 32 percent of respondents who said they oppose a single-payer system? Many said they think it could cut down competition or suppress innovation initiatives. Other opposers said they “fear it would give the government too much power over reimbursement rates or that they mistrust the government’s ability to create a viable single-payer system,” according to Kutcher’s post.

The statistics from LinkedIn’s survey show physicians are varied in their opinions about what should happen next in the U.S.  healthcare system. But given last week’s AHCA failure, it looks like we’re staying where we are for right now.

Photo: Peter Dazeley, Getty Images

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