Almost half of doctors support a single-payer healthcare system, study finds

Doctor with patient
Almost half of doctors support a single-payer insurance system to ensure all patients have coverage.

As the debate continues about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new study finds that almost half of doctors support a single-payer healthcare system.

In a survey conducted in February by LinkedIn, 48% of the 500 doctors who responded said they would support a single-payer system that would provide healthcare insurance to everyone, according to a LinkedIn article.

Doctors said the current fragmented system is a barrier for patients who either don’t have health insurance or can’t find a doctor who accepts their coverage, the survey found. Cost is one of the biggest reasons put off going to the doctor and don’t receive regular healthcare.

“I think healthcare is something that should be available to everyone from cradle to grave,” Keith Paredes, a now retired obstetrician-gynecologist in Lakeland, Florida, told LinkedIn. Opponents to a single-payer system, however, said it would reduce their earning potential.

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Republican leaders last week pulled a bill that would have replaced the ACA because it did not have enough votes to pass. However, the White House and GOP leaders have begun to talk about resurrecting their American Health Care Act, perhaps with at least some bipartisan support, or perhaps by compromising among Republican House members. 

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Another reason physicians support a single-payer system? It would be more efficient and eliminate the administrative burden of dealing with multiple insurance companies. Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 64% of physicians said they have implemented new measures to collect from patients with high deductible plans.
  • One-third of respondents are offering payment plans to patients and 26% are requiring payment up front.
  • 19% of respondents have hired additional staff, such as financial counselors, to handle payment issues.
  • 54% of physicians said their job includes negotiating with insurance companies, a task that requires an average of four hours a week.