Why Romney Would Be Good for Doctors

Harris Meyer

Disclosures

October 25, 2012

In This Article

Introduction

Mitt Romney's healthcare approach would be better for America's physicians because it would unleash free-market forces to let doctors deliver quality healthcare, give consumers more private insurance choices, and drive down costs in both private and public insurance programs, say many conservative physicians.

Some physicians who favor Romney say that he will bring positive changes for physicians and the practice of medicine:

• Many physicians backing Romney ardently support his call for repealing President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA), which they see as destructive to US healthcare.

• Doctors like Romney's proposal to encourage individual ownership of health insurance by giving people an income tax deduction for premium payments.

• They favor his ideas for deregulating insurance by letting out-of-state insurers sell policies nationally without having to meet state benefits, and boosting high-deductible health plans by letting people pay premiums out of their tax-free health savings accounts.

• And they love that Romney wants to curb medical malpractice lawsuits and reduce defensive medicine by capping noneconomic damages.

These conservative doctors may represent the majority view of physicians. A randomized national survey of 3660 doctors in September 2012, conducted by healthcare staffing firm Jackson & Coker, headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, found that 55% of physicians said that they would vote for Romney while 36% would vote for Obama.[1] Male doctors, who comprised 72% of respondents, were far more likely to support Romney, while female doctors, who comprised 28%, were evenly split between the 2 candidates. The percentage who said that the ACA should be repealed and replaced was 55%, with 40% saying that it should be implemented and improved.

Romney supporters admit to some reservations because as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed a state healthcare reform law that served as the model for the federal law. Still, supporters say that, on balance, he would be far better than Obama for doctors.

Indeed, some conservatives admit that their presidential vote on November 6 will be as much anti-Obama as pro-Romney. "We have to repeal that monstrous law [the ACA]," says Robert Sewell, MD, a solo practice surgeon in Southlake, Texas, who represents the American Society of General Surgeons in the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. "I have to take Gov. Romney at his word that, if elected, he would do that. In that case I'm a supporter of his."

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