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September 14, 2022
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David Burda
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Consumerism Policy System Dynamics
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4-Minute 4sight Blogs

Consumers Leaning Left on Healthcare

Traditionally, in politics, when you wanted to sling mud at an opponent during a campaign, you’d accuse him or her of raising taxes or planning to raise taxes regardless of whether it was true.

Today, raising taxes is just one accusation on a long list of allegations politicians use to get the blood of uninformed, right-leaning voters boiling and to the polls. Others include being soft on crime, being a socialist, being a communist, being soft on immigration, being pro-choice, being for same-sex or interracial marriage, being for contraception, being for LGBTQ rights, being for gun control, being pro-union, being for voting rights, being for the separation of church and state and being for masks and vaccines that protect you from a deadly virus.

What a country.

When it comes to healthcare, though, consumers may be more left-leaning than conservative politicians think or that consumers themselves realize.

That’s my takeaway from a new consumer survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. You can download the 33-page survey report here.

The report is based on a survey of a representative sample of 1,505 adults aged 18 or older conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1. AP-NORC asked the adults of bunch of questions about healthcare and the government’s role in it.

Overall, the respondents didn’t think much of the healthcare system here. Asked whether they think the U.S. handles the following healthcare issues “extremely well” or “very well,” here’s what they said:

  • 12 percent said healthcare in general
  • 11 percent said community support and resources for older adults
  • 11 percent said healthcare for older adults
  • 6 percent said quality of care at nursing homes
  • 6 percent said prescription medication costs
  • 5 percent said mental healthcare

Further, 78 percent said they were “extremely concerned,” “very concerned” or “moderately concerned” about having access to high-quality medical care when they needed it.

Not exactly rave reviews.

Whose job is it to make things right? Surprisingly, most respondents said it’s the government’s job.

Sixty-six percent of the respondents said it’s the federal government’s responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health insurance coverage. Further:

  • 80 percent said they favor allowing the federal government and private insurance to negotiate for lower prices on prescription drugs
  • 68 percent said they favor requiring government and private insurance plans to cover the cost of care provided through telehealth programs
  • 58 percent said they support the creation of a new government health insurance plan that any American can purchase instead of purchasing a private health insurance plan, i.e., public option
  • 43 percent said they support a single-payer healthcare system in which Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan, i.e., single payer

And what about those taxes? Sixty-two percent said Americans should pay less for their medical care even if it meant paying more in taxes.

More taxes? Single payer? Public option? The mind reels.

Just don’t call them socialists.

Thanks for reading.

About the Author

David Burda

Dave Burda began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes this monthly column “Burda on Healthcare,” contributes weekly blog posts, manages our weekly newsletter 4sight Friday, and hosts our weekly Roundup podcast. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers—patients—are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow.

Dave’s personal experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and family caregiver have shaped his point of view. It’s also been shaped by covering the industry for 35 years as a reporter and editor. He worked at Modern Healthcare for 25 years, the last 11 as editor.

Prior to Modern Healthcare, he did stints at the American Medical Record Association (now AHIMA) and the American Hospital Association. After Modern Healthcare, he wrote a monthly column for Twin Cities Business explaining healthcare trends to a business audience, and he developed and executed content marketing plans for leading healthcare corporations as the editorial director for healthcare strategies at MSP Communications.

When he’s not reading and writing about healthcare, Dave spends his time riding the trails of DuPage County, IL, on his bike, tending his vegetable garden and daydreaming about being a lobster fisherman in Maine. He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his lovely wife of 35 years and his three children, none of whom want to be journalists or lobster fishermen.

 

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