More People in United States Support ‘Radical’ Health Care Reform, Harris Poll Finds
The United States has a "considerable appetite" for health care reform, and a "stronger consensus for radical reform is building" among the public, employers, providers and others in the health care industry, according to a Harris Poll released Wednesday. In the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, researchers interviewed separate samples of 1,013 adults, 406 physicians, 301 employers, 101 health plan managers and 301 hospital managers to determine "what they thought of the nation's health care system." According to the survey, 56% of the public, 46% of physicians, 48% of employers, 50% of health plan managers and 51% of hospital managers said that the health care system requires "radical change." Although public opinion has "fluctuated" on the issue over the past 20 years, 56% of the public said that they favor "radical change" of the health care system. The survey predicted that "dissatisfaction" with the health care system would increase over the next few years as a result of increased out-of-pocket costs, concerns about prescription drug prices and a possible increase in the number of uninsured Americans. The survey also found:
- The percentage of doctors who endorsed radical change reached a low of 32% in 1994 but has increased over the past eight years, perhaps as a result of "anger about managed care," Harris suggests.
- In 1999, health plan managers had "remarkably positive," attitudes about the health care system, but the percentage who favor radical change has increased over the past three years, from 31% in 1999 to 50% in 2002.
- Although employer attitudes about the health care system have shifted "very little," 48% favor radical change today, the highest percentage between 1993 and 2002.
The survey concluded that a majority of those interviewed did not have a "good opinion of the health care system as it is now." In addition, the survey predicted "a big push for reform" as employers and health plan managers have become "more hostile toward the system" in 2002 than in past years (Harris Interactive release, 8/21). The survey is available online. 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.