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Physicians Supporting Single Payer Urge Medical Societies To Join Effort

July 14, 2021

A group of physicians that has advocated for single payer health care is seeking help from state and local and specialty medical societies to push the policy. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) says that while surveys show a majority of doctors support Medicare for All, most medical societies do not reflect that view.

On Tuesday (July 13), PNPH launched a campaign encouraging medical societies to adopt pro-single payer resolutions.

“Covid-19 has made the need for Medicare for All even more urgent,” says Susan Rogers, president of PNHP, “but we can’t win single-payer reform without the full support of the medical profession,”.

“We can be their voice,” Rogers, a Chicago-based physician, tells Inside Health Policy.

She says physicians are becoming increasingly frustrated by the administrative work, prior authorization, and other barriers to treating their patients. It is more important than ever that physicians understand that the burdens on them -- and on their patients -- could be eliminated or at least vastly reduced in a single-payer system, Rogers says.

The PNHP’s campaign comes after two years of “unprecedented” movement toward support for Medicare for All by the medical community, the group says in a release. It points out that in January 2019, the American Medical Association’s Student Section narrowly failed in its effort to get the AMA to rescind policies that ban the group from supporting single-payer. Shortly after the 53-47% vote, AMA announced it would leave a stakeholder group that was lobbying against Medicare for All, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future.

In January, the American College of Physicians endorsed moving to single-payer to achieve universal health coverage and the Society of General Internal Medicine backed that position.

Medical societies in Vermont and Hawaii also endorsed resolutions supporting single payer.

PHNP is also active in Public Citizen’s campaign to pass single-payer resolutions in city councils and county commissions. -- Amy Lotven (alotven@iwpnews.com)