WASHINGTON -- Despite reservations, a majority of th nation's physicians back many key elements of President Clinton's emerging health care reform agenda, even if it curtails their income and professional freedom, according to the largest survey yet of American doctors on the issue.
And nearly half the doctors polled said that they reluctantly would favor government-imposed limits on medical spending if no other way can be found to control costs, according to the survey by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press released yesterday.
The support by physicians is good news for the Clinton administration, whose senior advisers have said that they think many Americans will get an earful on health care reform from their personal doctors as the White House begins to promote the program to Congress and the public in the months ahead. The plan is to be released in May.
The survey of practicing physicians found a pervasive mood of pessimism, with seven of 10 saying that they believe their incomes will fall. Still, 68 percent of the doctors said that the most important goal of comprehensive reform is to guarantee universal access to medical care, with most willing to achieve that goal by waiting longer for new technologies or by having their patients wait longer for non-emergency treatment.
The Times Mirror poll also found that doctors and the public differ markedly in their expectations of the Clinton administration's proposal, with 53 percent of the public but only 24 percent of doctors saying that the White House will make wise recommendations.