ELECTION ’98: HMO Group Releases Post-Election Poll
A post-election survey released this morning by the American Association of Health Plans reveals that voters in last week's elections are generally satisfied with their health care coverage, including coverage provided by managed care plans. This satisfaction among voters, the group contends, explains why the HMO reform issue was not a key issue in the mid-term elections. Here is a summary of the key survey findings:
- In response to an open-ended question asking the most important factor in determining their vote for the U.S. House, only 9 out of 1,000 people spontaneously mentioned reform of managed care or health insurance issues.
- When asked to rank six specific issues strongly affecting their vote, 15% mentioned health care, ranking it fourth behind education, taxes and the economy.
- Many of the voters who said health care was most important were elderly Medicare recipients, which "suggests that health care as a general concern means more than the regulation of managed care," according to the AAHP.
- When asked how important several factors were in choosing a candidate, 74% said Social Security and Medicare were the "single most important factor" or a "major factor." HMO reform came in at 56%, trailing education (73%), a candidate's character (71%) and the candidate's position on taxes (67%).
- Eighty-six percent of voters polled said they were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with their health plan. Furthermore, more than 80% of those surveyed said they have not had a serious conflict with their HMO.
- More voters than not, including those covered by HMOs, expressed greater concern over the government making "too many" changes to the health system rather than "too few."
- Sixty-eight percent believe that candidates who campaigned on the issue of HMO reform did so for political advantage, rather than to protect consumers.
AAHP argues that the positions revealed by voters do not indicate a "formula for voter outrage, and helps to explain why anti-managed care campaigns were not the silver bullet their proponents had initially hoped." One thousand voters were polled by Q.W. Ayres & Associates in the random survey taken on Nov. 4 and 5; the margin of error is +/- 3.16%. AAHP released the survey findings this morning. Call the group at 202/778-3200 for more information (AAHP survey, 11/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.