The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

Who Americans Trust on Health Care Reform

Posted by Alan on July 24, 2009


Ouch! That’s one word that comes to mind after reading the results of a Gallup Poll asking Americans which of several groups they have confidence in when it comes to health care reform. The results are clear: if you deliver health care or are an objective authority on health care policy, the public trusts you. If you’re a politician, not so much. And if you’re an insurance company, the only group less trusted are Republicans in Congress. That’s got to hurt. Can you imagine being a Republican Senator and heading off to work each day realizing that the public trusts insurance carriers to do a better job on health care reform than you? Ouch!

The Gallup study was taken in June, so the numbers have no doubt changed. For example, a July 21st Gallup survey show a majority of Americans “disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling healthcare policy.”  Even so, the poll is still interesting in what it reveals about the standing of certain groups in the eyes of the public (my thanks to reader Meg McComb for bringing it to my attention). The question Gallup asked was, “… please say whether you are confident or not confident in each [group or individual named] to recommend the right thing for reforming the U.S. healthcare system.”

The percent of respondents expressing confidence:

  • Doctors:     73%
  • Healthcare professors/researchers:     62%
  • Hospitals:   61%
  • President Barack Obama:     58%
  • Democratic leaders in Congress:     42%
  • Pharmaceutical companies:     40%
  • Health insurance companies:     35%
  • Republican leaders in Congress:     34%

What the poll found is that doctor, hospitals and researchers are viewed positively across the political spectrum whereas the support for the others is more partisan. So, for example:

  • Hospitals had the confidence of 60% of Democrats, 57% of Independents and 68% of Republicans to recommend the right health care reform.
  • President Obama had the confidence of 85% of Democrats, 53% of Independents and 28% of Republicans
  • Health insurance companies had the confidence of 33% of Democrats, 32% of Independents and 42% of Republicans.

Partisans, not surprisingly, were sticking with their home team. The Democratic leadership had the confidence of 70% of Democrats, 36% of Independents and only 15% of Republicans. The Republican leadership had the confidence of 65% of Republicans, 27% of independents, and just 19% of Democrats.

One interesting finding: while 35% of Democrats and Independents have confidence in the pharmaceutical companies concerning health care reform, an impressive 52% of Republicans do. Which makes one wonder, what medication are they on?

4 Responses to “Who Americans Trust on Health Care Reform”

  1. besthealthcarerates said

    medical insurance

    John Goodman is the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis and he wrote this!!.

    This is from the Joint Economic Committee minority report. Congress is considering legislation that would:

    Raise the top two income tax brackets from 33% and 35% to statutory marginal rates of 36% and 39.6%;

    Bring back the “hidden tax increases” of PEP (the Personal Exemption Phaseout) and Pease (the limitation on itemized deductions), which raise the effective marginal rates in the top two brackets to 41% for a family of four; and

    Create a graduated surtax of 2%, 3% or 5.4% as part of “health reform,” which would raise the marginal tax rate for a family of four in the top two brackets to a range from 43.3% to 46.2%.
    Additionally, income distributed as wages to a small business owner would be subject to an extra 2.9% Medicare tax.

    All combined, small business owners could be subject to marginal tax rates as high as 49% and data from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that at least 55% of the revenue raised by increasing the top two rates would come from small business income.

    This would not include an average 7% in state and local taxes. It would also not include the House health bill’s wage tax of up to 8% on businesses that do not offer health insurance or do not pay for enough of their employees’ coverage or the 2.5% income tax on individuals who have not purchased health insurance.

  2. Nosedoc said

    I am a physician in my mid-40’s, active in my county medical society, and in-touch with my congressman. Physicians like myself have a tremendous incentive to be a part of the health care solution, for we need the reforms to be sustainable so that our careers will be both sustainable and personally rewarding. Our everyday experiences provide us with the knowledge about where our health care system is inefficient and why, and we have much to contribute to the health care reform process if we are allowed to sit at the table when the important policy-making decisions are being made. We are willing to help eliminate inappropriate self-referral through appropriate oversight on clinical indications. We agree that our clinical decisions should be evidence-based, avoiding unnecessary testing and non-indicated treatments while optimizing outcomes. At the same time, we are keenly aware of the way that the fear of missing a remotely possible diagnosis (and the litigation that may follow) affects our everyday decision-making. In our emergency rooms, every patient with a bad headache gets a head CT, every patient with belly pain gets a double-contrast abdominal CT. Defensive medicine is very real and tremendous financial drain on our economy. We are also aware of the manners in which the insurance industry is not just taking advantage of health professionals and facilities, but the employers and employees who are paying the premiums to an industry that operates with 30% of its revenues going toward administrative expenses (like the pursuit of denying care) and a whopping 20% profit margin.

    • Alison said

      Each perspective (doctor, insurance agent, politician, hospital, etc) sheds light on the enormity of this problem. If the issues and problems themselves are so multi- layered it says to me that the solutions, while snowballing and affecting everyone, are even more complex. Even under the best circumstances (people working together for the good of everyone) this is a huge task. I hope that people are able to practice principles over personalities and in some way the problem is actually honestly addressed. I guess my prayer is that the powers that be somehow bring the best in all of us forward to bring about some REAL change. I stand to lose alot but am willing to surrender to what is right for everyone as hard as that is. I cant hardly have that wish without being willing to give something up.

  3. lizzygram said

    I am an independent. I can trust the republicians more times on issues than I can democrats. At least the republicians try to find ways to cut down on costs and use the laws we already have on the books. The democrats are spender and make new laws for they have no way of knowing how to inforce the laws on the book and create bigger government so friends can get a job. This poll you are referring to didn’t ask me and alot of other americans….so please do not speak for me.

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