Friday, August 14, 2009

A Summary Primer on What Americans Think About Health Reform

The Disease Management Care Blog is flummoxed by the polls and counter polls that say Americans are for and against healthcare reform. Good thing the New England Journal of Medicine has published a summary of the various polls to paint a complete picture of what the public thinks.

Generally, most Americans feel the ‘system’ is broken but are simultaneously satisfied with their own personal health care and their insurance status. However, they are also worried that the quality of their care could decline and that the cost of their insurance will go up. Accordingly, they are in broad favor of change. That includes a national health insurance program.

And the hot button issues? Requiring insurance coverage of people with preexisting conditions, taxing people with higher incomes, and requiring employers to provide insurance seem to have widespread support. Persons are opposed to taxing employer-sponsored health insurance and increasing the Federal deficit. Persons like the idea of a public plan but aren’t sure how it would function. Persons are divided about the individual mandate and increased government influence. Finally, Americans seem resigned to the likelihood of increased taxes and little change in their own health care status.

The DMCB agrees with the Journal that these results, combined with a high personal approval rating for the President, may bode well for the passage of reform bill. This is especially true if Americans come to believe this bill will result in the coverage of more Americans and lead to lower costs and higher quality. On the other hand, if Americans believe more coverage also requires higher deficits and no change in quality, support could continue to erode.

Yes, continue. The DMCB checked out another type of survery. This information market says the likelihood of passage by December '09 is just above 35%.

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