On RNC Conference Call, Rep. Price Falsely Claimed Doctors Oppose The Public Option

October 05, 2009 4:44 pm ET

During an RNC conference call on October 5, 2009, Republican Study Committee chair Rep. Tom Price falsely stated American doctors oppose efforts to provide a public health insurance option.  In reality, three out of four American doctors are in favor of the proposal.  Once again, Rep. Price disregards the truth.

Rep. Price Falsely Stated American Doctors Oppose Reform Proposals

Rep. Tom Price Misrepresented "A Real Cross-Section" Of American Doctors.  As reported by The Hill:

"I'm kind of surprised that a hand-picked group of physicians that were brought to the White House today were applauding a government takeover of healthcare," Price said during a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

"I would suggest that a real cross-section of doctors would not be applauding a government takeover of healthcare," he added. [The Hill, 10/5/09]

Rep. Price is correct that doctors would oppose a "government takeover" of health care, but that is not what a public option would result in.

In Reality, 3/4 Doctors Support A Public Option

Huffington Post: "Three Out Of Four Physicians Nationwide Support Inclusion Of A Public Option." Huffington Post wrote: "A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study published in Monday's New England Journal of Medicine shows that 63 percent of physicians support a health reform proposal that includes both a public option and traditional private insurance. If the additional 10 percent of doctors who support an entirely public health system are included, then approximately three out of four physicians nationwide support inclusion of a public option. Only 27 percent support a private-only reform that would provide subsidies for low-income individuals to purchase private insurance." [Huffington Post, 9/14/09]

Poll: 63% Of Physicians Favor The Public Option.  As reported by NPR:

Among all the players in the health care debate, doctors may be the least understood about where they stand on some of the key issues around changing the health care system. Now, a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.

When polled, "nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options," says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Most doctors - 63 percent - say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That's the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they'd like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.

When the American public is polled, anywhere from 50 to 70 percent favor a public option. So that means that when compared to their patients, doctors are bigger supporters of a public option. [NPR, 9/14/09; emphasis added]

Poll: 58% Of Doctors Favor Expanding Medicare.  According to the Huffington Post: "Surveying a nationally representative sample of 2,130 physicians across America, researchers Salomeh Keyhani, M.D., M.P.H., and Alex Federman, M.D., M.P.H., from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City queried physicians about a range of options for expanding health insurance coverage... A majority of physicians surveyed (58 percent) also supported expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64." [Huffington Post, 9/14/09]

In June 455,000 Doctors Sent A Letter To Congress Demanding Reform.  In June 2009, the Doctors' group "Doctors for America" sent a letter to congress signed by 455,000 physicians.  The letter said:

Today 455,000 physicians and medical students stand together in strong support of health care reform.

We want you, Congress, the Administration, and the American people to know that we believe, in the interest of our patients and this nation, we must pass strong and effective health care reform in 2009. Americans need affordable choices, and stable coverage. Not passing health reform will result in continued rising costs, poorer quality of care, and more people uninsured.

Everyday, we are on the frontlines of healthcare, and know that we must ensure everyone in our communities including working people, parents and children all have real choice of plans and doctors, affordable care, and access to necessary medical services. Health care reform will help physicians provide better care for their patients, throughout the nation. [Drs. For America, accessed 9/21/09]