IBD Poll Disputes Media Claims Most Doctors Back ObamaCare

A new Investor's Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don't back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if the liberal health care plan passes.

Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today's Investor's Business Daily noted, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story touting the American Medical Association (AMA)'s backing of President Obama's health care plans, while a National Public Radio publicized a poll funded by a pro-ObamaCare group to claim that "nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option."

The IBD/TIPP poll of 1,376 physicians suggests that the AMA does not represent most doctors as it advertises and lobbies on behalf of the administration's plan, and offers a second opinion to the poll (of 991 physicians) originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting strong support for a bigger government role.

Here's an excerpt of today's IBD story (they promise more data from the poll for tomorrow's paper), followed by excerpts from the Los Angeles Times and NPR stories mentioned in the article:

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors' own lobby - the powerful American Medical Association - both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.


# Tuesday's Los Angeles Times story, with the online headline: "Healthcare reform wins over doctors lobby," which stressed how physicians were clamoring for Obama's health care changes:

The American Medical Assn., after 60 years of opposing any government overhaul of healthcare, is now lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama's sweeping plan - a proposal that promises hundreds of billions of dollars for America's doctors.

Of all the interest groups that have won favorable terms in closed-door negotiations this year, the association representing the nation's physicians may have taken home the biggest prizes, including an agreement to stop planned cuts in Medicare payments that are worth $228 billion to doctors over 10 years.

In addition, the proposal that would require all individuals to obtain medical insurance includes premium subsidies to ensure that their doctor bills would be paid....

In the past, the AMA saw the government as endangering doctors' incomes and independence. Now, with the advent of Medicare and other federal programs, which the organization originally opposed, the government has become a vital source of revenue and stability for doctors.

"Doctors are really, really discouraged now about people not getting access to medical care," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, immediate past president of the AMA, who has been meeting with top congressional officials this summer on behalf of the association.

# And, an excerpt from the September 15 "Morning Edition" story on NPR (audio available here):

REPORTER JOSEPH SHAPIRO: In the survey, nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option. Co-author Dr. Salomeh Keyhani is a researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

DR. SALOMEH KEYHANI (Researcher, Mount Sinai School of Medicine): The results of the study demonstrated that the majority of physicians support a public option in the United States of America.

SHAPIRO: That included the 63 percent who say they'd like to see patients get a choice of public or private insurance and another 10 percent who favor a public option only. They'd like to see a single-payer system. When the public in general is surveyed, support for a public option has run between 50 and 70 percent....

SHAPIRO: Lots of the doctors in the survey said that they sometimes run into problems with Medicare. But Keyhani, who's spoken publicly in support of a public option, says doctors she spoke to for the survey often worry more about their uninsured patients.

DR. KEYHANI: So many of Americans are uninsured and physicians have to take care of uninsured patients. A public option would sort of help guarantee that most people had coverage. And I think that's very important to physicians who wake up in the middle of the night, they go to the hospital and they take care of patients and are not reimbursed. So having a guarantee of reimbursement of some sort I think is very appealing to most physicians.

SHAPIRO: The new survey was published online by The New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a health care organization that favors health reform. Joseph Shapiro, NPR News.

ANCHOR RENEE MONTAGNE: And we should note that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also supports NPR.

-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center.