Why doctors have stood against universal health care — and why that could be changing

A younger generation of doctors are more likely to advocate for single-payer health care, writes Dr. Clifford Marks.


Many in this country struggle to understand their health care plan, and feel they don’t have much agency in choosing it. The United States has a patchwork of plans that contributes to more spending on health care than any other developed nation. And yet, many influential and powerful people advocate against single-payer health care.

For many years, the American Medical Association has been that kind of institution as it helped wreck former President Harry Truman’s 1950s universal health care bill that otherwise had majority support from Americans. But in recent years, the association has been showing signs that it may be changing its tune.

“When you have to slog through pre-authorizations, suddenly single-payer healthcare, I think, seems a lot more appealing.” —Dr. Clifford Marks, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York

Listen: Why the American Medical Association may be more open to supporting single-payer health insurance.



Dr. Clifford Marks is an emergency-medicine resident at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He recently wrote a piece in The New Yorker about a younger generation of doctors that are advocating for universal health care coverage.

He says younger physicians have to contest with large industries, including pharmaceutical companies, hospital systems and insurance systems, which are all difficult to navigate.

“When you have to slog through pre-authorizations, suddenly single-payer health care, I think, seems a lot more appealing,” says Marks.

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