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Americans are Concerned with Government Control of Healthcare

Americans are concerned that revamping the health care system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills, and limit their options in choosing doctors, treatments and tests, the poll found. The percentage who describe health care costs as a serious threat to the American economy — a central argument made by Mr. Obama — has dropped over the past month.

Mr. Obama continues to benefit from strong support for the basic goal of revamping the health care system, and he is seen as far more likely than Congressional Republicans to have the best ideas to accomplish that. But reflecting a problem that has hindered efforts to bring major changes to health care for decades, Americans expressed considerable unease about what the end result would mean for them individually.

“We need to fix health care,” Mary Bevering, a Democrat from Fort Madison, Iowa, said in a follow-up interview, “but if the government creates the system, I’m afraid the quality of care will go down and costs will go up: We will pay more taxes.”

“It’s going to come down to regulation,” Ms. Bevering said. “What also worries me is whether we will be told what physician we can have.”

The poll was taken at a moment of extreme fluidity, both in terms of the complicated negotiations in the House and the Senate as lawmakers and the administration sort out the substance and politics of competing proposals, and in the efforts by both sides to define the stakes of the health care debate for the public.

With Congress now almost certain to recess until after Labor Day without floor votes on any specific plan, a vigorous advertising and grass-roots effort to shift public opinion is likely in the next month or two. The poll offers hope to both sides.


July 30, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , , ,


  1. I understand the gut fear of government getting involved in our healthcare, but when you think about it, having a mid-level manager at an insurance company decide what doctor I can see and what procedures I can have doesn’t sound any better. At least the government isn’t out to profit off of me.

    Comment by thoughtbasket | July 30, 2009 | Reply

    • There is a great myth about insurance companies denying care for patients through the use of administrators. The truth is that there are real doctors, who are or have practiced medicine who are implementing the guidelines that other researchers and doctors have developed, looking at real cases, treatments and implications of care.

      But the real myth in your statement is the problem with the governmental regime is that it will be based solely on cost. They WILL be trying to ‘profit’ off of you. They will be trying to balance the Federal budget and reduce health care expenditures.

      Comment by Health care -- how do we move forward | July 30, 2009 | Reply

    • There is a striking difference. There are perhaps a thousand insurance companies offering coverage, and each can largely tailor that coverage in a configuration that will please some sector of the electorate. If I am elderly and have money, I can ask for coverage that affords even expensive care at a later stage of life. Perhaps it is more expensive, but I can choose to live in a small apartment and opt for additional coverage. If there is but one size fits all (a la the system in Canada), then I have no choices. So, your point is well taken, but it omits the lack of choice that would follow from having the government in the examining room.

      Comment by Douglas Foss | August 1, 2009 | Reply

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