Healthcare reform model polls poorly with Massachusetts doctors

Doctors in Massachusetts think the state's healthcare overhaul — the model for Democrats' national reform law — was a poor choice, according to a new poll.

The Massachusetts Medical Society surveyed 1,000 practicing doctors in its annual Physician Workforce Survey and found only 14 percent recommended Massachusetts's 2006 overhaul as a model for the nation. The Massachusetts reform effort, signed into law by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, created a "Health Connector" and required people to buy subsidized, government-regulated insurance — much like the federal law enacted in March.

A plurality of respondents — 34 percent — preferred a single-payer system, while 32 percent favored a public-private mix with a public option. And 17 percent opted for the status quo before reform, when low-premium, high-deductible health plans were allowed.

Single-payer advocates immediately embraced the results.

"Massachusetts physicians realize that the state's health reform has failed to make health care affordable and accessible, and won't work for the nation," said Rachel Nardin, chair of neurology at Cambridge Hospital and president of the Massachusetts chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. "These findings show the high support for single-payer Medicare for all by physicians on the front lines of reform."