152524 Passing the bill: Impact of physicians' race/ethnicity on perceptions of health policy priorities for Congress

Monday, November 5, 2007: 8:45 AM

Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Erica T. Sosa, MS , Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Dhananjaya Arekere, PhD , Center for the Study of Health Disparities, Texas A&M Univeristy, College Station, TX
The purpose of this study is to examine relationships between physicians' race/ethnicity and their perceived importance on health policy priorities for Congress. Physicians' race/ethnicity is compared to their perceptions in regard to providing health insurance coverage to uninsured Americans, regulating the cost of medications, and encouraging medical savings accounts. Historically, physicians and the American Medical Association (AMA) have played important roles in health policymaking, but paradoxically in relation to the Hippocratic Oath, physicians and the AMA have been unsupportive of expanding centralized provisions of health through Congressional initiatives to improve health and eliminate disparities. Data from the Kaiser Foundation's Survey of Physicians were examined. The mail survey, conducted in 2001, is based on a nationally representative random sample of 2,608 physicians, oversampled for racial/ethnic minority physicians (REMPs). Partial correlations were calculated to determine the effects of physicians' race/ethnicity on their support for expansionary Congressional roles while controlling for income, age, gender, region, practice-type, practice setting and civic engagement. About 56% of respondents self-identified as non-Hispanic White physicians (NHWPs). Results indicate NHWPs were less supportive of Congress increasing the number of Americans with health insurance (r= .090, p<.01), regulating the cost of medications (r= .210, p<.01), and encouraging medical savings accounts (r= .118, p<.01) than were REMPs. Despite the AMA's opposition to expansionary federal health policy, differences remain between physicians based on race/ethnicity. Health policy advocates and policymakers must internalize these differences to develop centralized strategies to improve population health.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the role of physicians in policymaking and advocacy 2. Prioritize contemporary health issues to be addressed by Congress 3. Assess the impact of physicians’ racial/ethnic differences effects on policy, advocacy, and patient health

Keywords: Physicians, Congress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.