Americans don’t think health care reform is working, and they are especially dubious of government priorities, according to a survey released on Monday by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
Respondents were split on the question being most debated in the courts – whether Americans should be required to have health insurance – and believed media reports of the issue are distorted and misleading.
The survey of 4,000 adults, done in April, found that respondents agreed with the goals of Congress and the Obama administration – reducing costs, improving quality, and getting more people covered. Eighty-two percent said reducing costs was important, 77 percent said improving the quality of care was important, and 60 percent said increasing access to insurance was important.
But few felt the law had met those goals.
“The majority of consumers feel health care reform efforts are not succeeding,” Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, said in the report.
The web-based survey, which had a margin of error of 1.6 percent, found that only 9 percent of adults believe the government does a good job balancing priorities in the health care system. More than half, 57 percent, said the government has not been effective at all in setting priorities.
Yet nearly half, 49 percent, feel the 2010 health care reform law was a good start, although 30 percent think it was a step in the wrong direction. There is hope – 55 percent said it is possible to improve quality and reduce costs in the current system of care. And 44 percent anticipate the law will bring improvements within the next five years, with another 24 percent saying it may take longer. Just over 30 percent doubt it will ever happen.
“U.S. consumers perceive a complex, wasteful health care system, sensing a lack of value for what is spent. Most consumers (76 percent) feel that they do not have a strong understanding of how the health care system works,” the report reads.
And they don’t buy the rhetoric from some politicians that the United States has the best health care system in the world. Just 24 percent believe the U.S. system works better than most systems. They don’t trust media reports, either -- only 24 percent said media coverage of health care reform has been very or moderately accurate and balanced.
“Consumers are almost evenly split on whether the government should require individuals to carry health insurance,” the report reads. “Nearly 40 percent say the government should require every individual in the country to have health insurance; slightly more than 40 percent oppose the individual mandate. The remaining 20 percent are unsure.”
This is the issue the Supreme Court will have to decide. Two appeals courts have upheld the law, but the most recent ruling, from the 4th Circuit, doesn’t address the issue of the mandate. That ruling struck down a suit brought by the state of Virginia because, the court said, a state doesn’t have standing to sue. A third court struck down the law in August.
This article appears in the September 12, 2011 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.