Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do psychiatrists support the public option?

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

Like everyone else, I could not avoid being swept up by the national debate about how to reform our health care system. The debate has been highly politicized, with the liberal left strongly supporting and the conservative right vehemently opposing a single-payer government-run public option (but keeping Medicare and Medicaid). Independents seem to waver between the major overhaul of a public option and making the system more competitive and less expensive.

So I started thinking: where do U.S. psychiatrists stand on a public health care option? I decided to formulate a hypothesis and test it by polling a sample of Current Psychiatry readers. My hypothesis: A substantial proportion (>60%) of practicing U.S. psychiatrists favor a single-payer public option. My rationale: My hunch was that what we psychiatrists deal with in clinical practice may shape and predict how we think about health care, irrespective of our politics.

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  1. Do I want a single payor system that would cover most US citizens? Yes, but there are 2 major flaws with the current proposal.
    1. The current proposal neglects important issues that should be related to any serious overhall of health care (tort reform, interstate purchase of health insurance, ect.) to ignore these issues paints the current proposal as a political power grab and not health reform.
    2.More important than health care is personal liberty, individual rights and personal responsibility. The currently proposed health care reform rolls over personal liberties, the constitution and the will of the majority of the people of the US.
    The current plan, as proposed by the Democrats, does not protect the people's liberties. And this is most worrisome.

  2. According to section 9 of our ethics code if we don't support universal access we are unethical!