The United States is facing a health care crisis with the number of uninsured Americans exceeding 46 million and health care premiums and overall costs increasing at 3 to 4 times the rate of inflation. Proposed solutions include continuing managed care, moving to a single-payer financing system with universal coverage, and replacing traditional health plans with high-deductible policies that allow patients to draw from health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay out-of-pocket costs. Despite physicians' vital role in health care, few studies have assessed their preferences regarding health care financing systems. We surveyed a random sample of licensed Minnesota physicians to determine their preferences regarding health care financing systems. Of 390 physicians, 64% favored a single-payer system, 25% HSAs, and 12% managed care. The majority of physicians (86%) also agreed that it is the responsibility of society, through the government, to ensure that everyone has access to good medical care. Less than half (41%) said that the private insurance industry should continue to play a major role in financing health care. The accumulating knowledge about physicians' preferences for various health care financing mechanisms merits widespread inclusion in policy debates.
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|Published - Feb 2007