Will doctors get a pay cut under a public health option?

It appears so.

The public health option is the centerpiece of a progressive vision of health reform. Some consider it a “backdoor” to a single-payer system, since in theory, a publicly funded option like Medicare should have the cost advantage when compared to its private plan counterparts.

According to some models, however, some of the cost savings will also come at the expense of physician salaries. MedPage Today cites a report from the Institute for America’s Future, a progressive think tank, which concludes that “if all businesses, large and small, chose to offer the public plan to their employees, physicians would likely see a 7% cut in their reimbursements.”

If those cuts are indiscriminate across all physician specialties, it will disproportionally hurt primary care doctors, which will be unfortunate, since the success of any reform initiative hinges on the welfare of generalist physicians.

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