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I was on MSNBC! My national TV debut....

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In response the new NEJM article about physician support for a public plan....I landed myself a spot on MSNBC opposite Dr. Todd Williamson, head of the Georgia Medical Society.  I was playing the part of "in favor of a public option", while he played the part of "against a public option".  Not my favorite debate to have.  You will see in the clip that I try to broaden the discussion to the larger comprehensive reform effort that is underway. Plus, what you don't see in the clip I embedded that the segment was tee'd up with the "data" that 61% of of physicians support a public option.

First, a few words about the NEJM study....I originally thought that the data

mushed together "public and private option"....Dr. Nick Wagle pointed out that I had misinterpreted the conclusions.

He wrote:

"The choices given to the respondents were, which of the following three option would you most strongly support to expand health insurance coverage in the US:

1) providing people younger than 65 years of age the choice of enrolling in a new public health insurance plan (like Medicare) or in private plans [called "Public and Private Options"]
2)  providing people with tax credits or subsidies, if they have low income, to buy private insurance coverage,without creating a new public plan [called "Private options only"]
3) eliminating private insurance and covering everyone through a single public plan like Medicare [ called "public option only"]
In none of these three options would the existing public structure be affected -- it's only the way in which one would EXPAND coverage.
So I think it is very fair to say 62% support a public option."

So, I think the NEJM gives us a clear understanding that in fact physicians do support a public option.   I also know that at Doctors for America, we surveyed our membership about a public option and of the 3,000+ that responded 97% were in favor.  Clearly a biased sample....but illustrative that there are physicians who feel VERY passionately about the public option.

Second, the incredible focus on the public option is frankly distracting from many many many other important provisions in the legislation that are working their way through Congress.  Some I have written about here on the blog, some I mentioned in the interview, many more that never get talked about.

So, that's it.   I think my zinger about Georgia, Wellpoint and lack of competition was a winner! Next time I'll try to smile!

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  1. Katherine Scheirman MD


    I thought Mandy did an outstanding job presenting actual data, where the Georgia doc just talked about his fear and guesses. Mandy, you are definitely ready for the Rachel Maddow Show!

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