Doctors prefer Rubio over Ryan as VP choice, survey says

August 13, 2012
Brandon Glenn

Physicians prefer Marco Rubio over Paul Ryan as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, a new poll shows.

Physicians prefer Marco Rubio over Paul Ryan as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, a new poll shows.

Rubio, a Florida senator, was a far more popular pick for vice president (VP) than three other leading candidates for the role, according to a 927-physician survey by marketing company

DoctorDirectory

.

Rubio was the VP candidate of choice for 23% of respondents, compared with just 12% who preferred Ryan, a Wisconsin member of the U.S. House of Representatives whom Romney tapped last weekend as his running mate. The survey was conducted before Romney made the announcement.

The good news for Romney is that Ryan was at least more of a popular choice for physicians than two other GOP politicians who were rumored to be in the running for the VP slot. Both Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Rep. Rob Portman garnered just 4% in the poll.

The poll offered no clues as to why doctors prefer Rubio over Ryan. It could be a sign of physicians' unease with Ryan’s plan to change Medicare to a voucher system, in which beneficiaries would receive a set amount of money every year to buy coverage from competing health plans.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis of Ryan's 2011 spending plan found that it would reduce the federal deficit, but it would do so in part by shifting healthcare costs from the government onto seniors.

In 2030, for example, the average 65-year-old would pay 68% of the total cost of her health coverage out of pocket under Ryan's plan, compared with 25% now. For doctors, that could mean having to provide more uncompensated care as seniors struggle to pay medical bills.

Regardless, physicians prefer Romney to President Obama. The survey found that 41% of physicians said they'd vote for Romney, whereas just 35% would cast their ballots for Obama.

Curiously, though, a greater percentage of respondents said Obama (27%) "has the best interests of healthcare practitioners in mind" compared with Romney (26%).

Physicians ranked the economy as the most important political issue to them, with health reform coming in a distant fourth.

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