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Fifty-Four Percent of Americans Believe Health Care Reform Will Not be Passed This Year


Government-run health care and increased taxes top list of concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the heels of the new $856 billion health care bill proposed yesterday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, doubt over health care reform passing this year still looms across the American public. Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults surveyed believe health care reform will not pass this year compared to 41 percent who do, according to the results of a new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions study.

While many doubt legislation will pass, those surveyed who watched President Barack Obama’s address last week (44 percent versus 55 percent who did not watch) were inclined to agree (68 percent) versus disagree (30 percent) with the components of the President’s reform plan.

“Consumers are at a crossroads and while the majority of Americans surveyed (84 percent) believe some form of change is needed, many are confused by the complexity of the system and often default to their own personal experience with the system rather than look at the functionality of the entire system,” said Paul Keckley, Ph.D. and executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “Interestingly, respondents said they trust physicians and health care providers (37 percent) the most when it comes to reforming the health care system, followed by the White House (21 percent), Congress (13 percent), employers (11 percent) and health insurance companies (7 percent).”

Concern over the government running health care was a common theme throughout the survey results. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that Congress is likely to make the health care situation worse than better, and 55 percent thought government solutions to health care will ultimately cost more and deliver less compared to private sector solutions. Additionally, while the economy is still a major concern, 51 percent believe that health reform should not wait until the economy is better compared to 47 percent who thought it should wait.

Top concerns regarding health care reform expressed by consumers surveyed include:

* Thirty-seven percent do not want the government to run health care.
* Twenty percent did not want their taxes to increase to cover health care for others.
* Thirteen percent were concerned that they did not understand the proposals.
* Twelve percent thought they might have to wait too long to see a doctor if the public option is passed.
* Only five percent were concerned about issues related to end of life care.

“Given consumer concerns regarding the public option and government-run health care, the current bill appears to be more in line with what consumers we surveyed may be more comfortable with,” added Keckley. “Our survey results indicate that while the majority believe the health care system needs to change, 48 percent want improvements, but not a major overhaul of the system. This supports the idea that a more moderate, incremental approach may be the answer.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

* Seventy-three percent of respondents believe it is important for every American to have health insurance.
* The uninsured (60 percent) and underinsured (55 percent) respondents were more likely to believe a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system is needed.
* Fifty-seven percent of respondents believe Town Hall meetings have been an effective forum for gaining feedback from the public compared to 35 percent who did not think they were.
* Respondents were split when it came to ranking the U.S. health care system, with approximately half (48 percent) agreeing that the U.S. health care system was the best system in the world compared to nearly half (48 percent) who disagreed.
* Fifty-five percent of those surveyed do not believe coverage for the uninsured should be the sole focus of the debate.
* Respondents were most familiar with terms such as the public option (46 percent), health care co-ops (34 percent) and health insurance exchanges (28 percent), compared with terms such as comparative effectiveness research (20 percent) and the medical home (19 percent).


The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,010 U.S. adults 18 years-old and older from Sept. 10 -13 to gauge consumers’ opinions of health care reform following the President’s address to the nation on Wednesday, Sept. 9th. Data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of age, sex, geographic region and race. The survey has a sampling error of + or – 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.


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