A new survey of 1,628 adults by the Kaiser Family Foundation puts the brakes on the notion that the desire for health reform is … well … universal.
Overall, healthcare reform ranks third on Americans’ priority list for the new administration – behind improving the economy and fighting terrorism, but ahead of reducing the budget deficit, improving schools, and dealing with Iraq.
There is general agreement on issues such as providing universal coverage, limiting administrative expenses of insurers, and getting rid of exclusions for pre-existing conditions. But public opinion changes when people learn about the effects of their decisions.
For example, 71% of people favor Obama’s idea to require employers to provide health insurance to their workers, but support drops to only 29% when told that the plan may involve employers laying off workers.
Two thirds of people also thought it was a good idea to require all Americans to have health insurance … until they found out that some people would be forced to purchase insurance that was too expensive or something they didn’t want. Support for that idea suddenly dropped to 19%.
Nearly 2/3 of people would be less likely to support a plan that increased their own costs and less than half of those polled were willing to pay higher insurance premiums or taxes to help cover the uninsured. Instead, 70% of those polled wanted to increase taxes for those earning more than $250,000 per year.
In summary, it seems that most people in the survey want “The best health care someone else can pay for.”
Got a news flash for all those who were surveyed: The concept isn’t flying now and it won’t fly in the future. If you’re expecting to get better medical care at a lower cost, you’re kidding yourselves.
If we aren’t careful about our choices, we might get neither.