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Most Americans Don't Believe Health Reform Will Pass This Year

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 18, 2009

Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults don't believe healthcare reform will pass this year, compared to 41% who do, according to a national telephone survey commissioned by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

"Consumers are at a crossroads," says Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "While the majority of Americans surveyed (84%) 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."

Harris Interactive conducted the national telephone survey of 1,010 adults 18 years old and older from Sept. 10-13 to gauge opinions about healthcare reform following President Barack Obama's address to the nation on Sept. 9. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.1%.

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

"Interestingly, respondents said they trust physicians and healthcare providers (37%) the most when it comes to reforming the healthcare system, followed by the White House (21%), Congress (13%), employers (11%), and health insurance companies (7%)," Keckley says.

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

Top concerns expressed by consumers surveyed include:

  • 37% do not want the government to run healthcare

  • 20% do not want their taxes to increase to cover healthcare for others

  • 13% were concerned that they did not understand the proposals

  • 12% thought they might have to wait too long to see a doctor if the public option is passed

  • 5% were concerned about issues related to end-of-life care

"Our survey results indicate that while the majority believe the healthcare system needs to change, 48% want improvements, but not a major overhaul of the system. This supports the idea that a more moderate, incremental approach may be the answer," Keckley says.

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