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Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, November 18, 2003

49% of American Physicians Support National Health Insurance, Study Finds

A substantial proportion of U.S. doctors support national health insurance, a new study finds (Article, p. 795). Among 1,650 primary care physicians, surgeons, and specialists responding to a survey, 49 percent supported governmental legislation to establish universal national health insurance, and 40 percent opposed it. Nearly one quarter (26 percent) supported a program in which the government would pay for all health care. Support for national health insurance varied by specialty, location and practice setting. Doctors were most likely to back national health insurance if they practiced in inner cities or in nonprivate settings and if at least 20 percent of their patients were on Medicaid. An editorial says "physicians may disagree on how best to cover the uninsured," but that "the status quo should be everyone's last choice" (Editorial, p. 858).

Mammography Is Cost-Effective Beyond Age 65, Study Finds

A cost-effectiveness analysis of data in 10 published studies finds that mammography screening for breast cancer every two years reduces death at reasonable cost for 65- to 80-year-old women who have no serious life-threatening health conditions (Review, p. 835). The strength of the conclusions is limited somewhat by the scarcity of high quality research on breast cancer screening and treatment in this age group, but the authors say the results should provide information to guide clinical recommendations, clinical standards of care, and policy on optimal use of breast cancer screening for older women.

Intensive HIV Therapy Can Be Started Later Than Thought, With Caveats

A new observational study of 1,422 HIV-infected adults found that patients with CD4 counts of 200 cells/uL (cells per microliter) or above who complied with the drug regimens of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) had low death rates (Article, p. 810).
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Contact: Penny Fuller
pfuller@acponline.org
215-351-2656
American College of Physicians
17-Nov-2003


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