Americans tend to have purple views about the U.S. health care system.
Republican lawmakers tend to want to promote programs that do more to cut coverage costs for the healthy than programs that help sick people and low-income people buy coverage, and Republicans also talk about the need to reduce government spending on health care.
Many Democratic lawmakers tend to discuss the need for guaranteed-issue underwriting, subsidies for the poor, and reasons to maintain the current level of benefits offered by Medicare and Medicaid, even if that increases costs.
Researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J., and the Harvard School of Public Health have published survey data that could make everyone happy and everyone miserable.
The researchers collected the data by commissioning telephone surveys of 1,598 U.S. residents ages 18 and older.
When pollsters asked, “What do you think is the most important problem with the nation’s medical care system?”, 51% cited health care costs, and only 18% mentioned the plight of the uninsured or access to health care.
Just 7% named the “government role in health care,” and only 5% named “insurance companies.”
But, when the pollsters asked, “If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services in health, or a bigger government providing more services in health?”, only 37% answered “smaller government,” and 52% answered “bigger government.”
In response to another question, 45% of the participants said providing subsidies to help the uninsured buy health insurance or get health care services should be a top government health care priority.
The only answers that drew more positive responses were improving Medicaid, which struck 56% of the participants as being a top priority, and improving Medicare, which impressed 63% of the participants as being a top priority.
Participants said the government is doing the best job at preventing the spread of infectious diseases and the worst at shoring up Medicare and Medicaid.