Americas Health Insurance Plans intends to play a major role in election season debates about health care system reform.
The health insurance industry trade group, formed by the recent merger of the American Association of Health Plans and the Health Insurance Association of America, is organizing a “voter empowerment” program to help set the debate agenda.
The program will use paid advertising, direct mail and grassroots lobbying efforts to encourage voters to demand more substantive debate about health reform issues, AHIP said.
AHIP is shaping its campaign with data from a survey by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies L.L.C., Alexandria, Va. The survey assessed the views of 800 registered voters in 17 “swing states,” or states that appear to be up for grabs in the presidential campaign.
“The voters want substance, not sound bites,” AHIP President Karen Ignagni said during a press conference held to announce the voter empowerment program and the survey results.
Conventional wisdom holds that candidates “should keep it simple,” but, at least in the area of health reform, “voters are saying strongly that they want more details,” Ignagni said.
McInturffs survey team found that 43% of the survey participants said the U.S. health care system “should be reformed” and that 41% said the system “should be radically changed.” Only 13% said the system should be kept the same.
Only 30% of the participants said the United States ought to adopt a single, government-run health care program.
More than 60% of the participants said the private sector is better suited to delivering care when it is needed, assessing new technology, distributing resources efficiently and using screenings to prevent illnesses before they occur, McInturff reported at the press conference.
But more than 54% of the participants said the government is better at keeping health care affordable, and 59% said the government is better at ensuring that more Americans have access to quality care.