Convincing doctors to accept a public health care plan option

There’s no question that the possible inclusion of a public plan is one of the most contentious issues that will be debated as health reform moves forward.

As I wrote previously, I’m somewhat indifferent about the option, but, feel strongly that doctors need to maintain the ability to opt out of the plan, and stress that reimbursements need to be competitive with those of private insurers.

Well, it appears that some politicians are hearing the same message. Charles Schumer, the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, tried to allay some physician fears by proposing several “principles” of a public plan.

Among them include, “pay[ing] doctors and hospitals more than what Medicare pays,” and that “the government should not compel doctors and hospitals to participate in a public plan just because they participate in Medicare.”

Good start.

Those two points should be non-negotiable if there’s any hope of the medical profession accepting the option of a public plan.