March 24th, 2009 – Here in Colorado, people tend to have an independent spirit when it comes to government. We all have different ideas of what government’s primary role should be, so this recent study from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions provided some interesting insights as to what the majority of Americans want from health care reform.
In no particular order:
- 53% want employers to be required to provide health insurance.
- 37% favor a mandate requiring all Americans to get health insurance from an employer, on their own or from a government program.
- 25% are in favor of raising taxes to help cover the uninsured.
- 47% of those who dropped health insurance did so because they couldn’t afford it or didn’t want to pay the premiums.
- 33% of those who dropped health insurance did so because they switched jobs.
- 10% of those who dropped health insurance did so because their employer dropped their health insurance plan.
- 94% believe the the costs for health care services is a serious threat to their personal financial security.
- 28% had difficulty paying medical bills in the previous year.
- 55% want to be able to email their doctor and get answers to questions.
- 42% want access to their own personal health records.
- 60% prefer generic drugs to brand name drugs to save money
Of course, what people want and what they get are often two very different things. Piecing together the results of a 2008 poll, it indicated that Americans are in favor of free universal health care. If there is no such thing as a free lunch, then good luck with that!
A government mandate for employer sponsored health coverage is going to very difficult to sell, particularly to small business owners. As the increased costs would force some small businesses out of business and it result in fewer jobs. In the current economic climate that idea is a non-starter.
While the mandate for all Americans to have to either purchase their health insurance directly, get it from an employer or to get coverage through a government program has the support of only 37% of Americans, this may be the most politically saleable proposal for Health Care Reform. The idea here is that if everyone has coverage then those with insurance will not be burdened with the extra costs to subsidize those that do not have coverage.
However, realistically this would have to be combined with cost cutting measures in the health services sector to successfully drive down health insurance premiums.
What do you think about the idea of having a government mandate for health insurance coverage?