News | April 06, 2008

60 Percent of Physicians Fear Dramatic Increase in Patient Wait Time

April 7, 2008 - In a recent survey commissioned by Jackson & Coker, 60 percent of physicians polled predicted a dramatic wait time for medical procedures as part of any major overhaul of healthcare delivery in the U.S.

The survey, entitled “2008 Healthcare Professionals’ Opinions on Presidential Health Plans,” was sent to thousands of physicians in all major specialties during March, with over 1,000 physicians and health professionals responding.

Participants answered 26 key questions in three major categories: personal knowledge of healthcare reform referred to as “Universal Health Care,” their opinions concerning the healthcare proposals of the three presidential candidates and their thoughts on how healthcare reform can be implemented in the most equitable, cost-effective manner.

The majority of physician respondents (62 percent) have been practicing medicine fifteen years or longer. With a seasoned perspective on issues related to healthcare delivery, they voiced strong opinions on the concept of “Universal Health Care” (UHC) and how it should be effectively implemented, as indicated by their unedited comments.

Eighty-nine percent of physicians felt that they are somewhat familiar or very familiar with the concept of Universal Health Care. Interestingly, 46 percent felt that the current healthcare system—with significant improvements—might be the answer, whereas 38 percent speculated that a universal healthcare delivery system is called for, however it is designed and implemented.

Who should be covered by universal health care? This critical question, at the heart of the political debate, was phrased as such: “Should universal health care be available to non-citizens in the US?” Six percent of respondents absolutely favored access with no restrictions, whereas 34 percent opted for access with some restrictions. However, 37 percent answered “not at all.” Certainly politicians and legislators will need to reach some agreement on the matter before any UHC plan is adopted.

The survey focused on another key question, all the more significant in the context of the heated race for the White House. “Which current presidential candidate do you feel would most improve the US healthcare system?” The favorable responses were very close by percentages:

Senator John McCain: 30 percent
Senator Hillary Clinton: 28 percent
Senator Barack Obama: 24 percent

A significant portion of respondents (21 percent) did not favor proposals of any of the three remaining contenders. In fact, among former contenders, Ron Paul’s proposal garnered the greatest interest.

Overall, half of the respondents felt that the healthcare reform plans of the presidential candidates are extremely important in deciding who gets their vote.

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