Observations on the NYT Health Care Poll

I am not an expert in government or economics.  But I had a few thoughts about the New York Times Health Care Poll, which you can see here.

One thing I noticed is that while the majority of people were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their health care (Q. 51), it was a fairly even split of satisfied/dissatisfied with the cost of their health care(Q. 53).  Some of the questions are asked concerning the country as a whole which has different results.

Health care probably falls in the “need” category with groceries and gas especially as one ages.  I hate it when the price goes up for both.  I try to think back 30 years ago and I can’t remember our country having this conversation.  I’m not sure that health care costs were as great then as they seem to be now.  When I worked at a hospital I had coverage that I don’t  think I paid anything for.  Now that my husband and I no longer have employee provided health insurance, we shop around for the best premiums.  We recently received notice from our current provider that our rates would increase by $200/month in July.  So we are shopping again and have found a much lower rate.  We do not visit the doctor very often at all and are fortunate to enjoy good health….although some of our habits need change. We only concern ourselves with purchasing catastrophic insurance, which means that we ourselves pick up the tab for most of our incurred expenses at this point in our lives.

Question 56…It’s about doctors ordering tests their patients don’t really need…is this a serious problem or not?  73% consider this a serious or somewhat serious problem.

I would like to say something on behalf of doctors here.  The rate of lawsuits in our society and the subsequent inflation of liability insurance, I believe, has caused this.  Doctors feel they need to cover their behinds, and I for one, do not blame them for that at all.  I think we can all agree that the majority of doctors are trying to do their best job.  But we live in a very litiginous society, people looking for others to pay all the time.   Consider the lady who won big dollars from McDonald’s because the coffee she spilled in her lap was hot.  I can’t believe that jury award.

Question 59. I was surprised a bit at this one, but working Americans are known to be fairly generous…57% to 37%, the American people were willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans could have health insurance they can’t lose.  Question 60..would they be willing to pay $500/yr. to provide this insurance?  There are only 43% willing, 8% not willing, 4% willing to pay less than $500, 2% don’t know.  There’s a whole bunch of people missing from these figures…I don’t know why.

Question 61…Do you think the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans…64% said yes, but in the next question when asked the same if it meant their insurance premiums would increase, that number dropped to 47%.  I’m not sure who they thought would pay for it in Q. 61.

Question 65… If the government provides health insurance, how concerned are you that your own access would be limited?  68% concerned or somewhat concerned

75% approved of requiring insurance companies to insure everyone regardless of existing conditions, but that number dropped to 56% if it meant their own insurance rates would go up.

These figures seem to go against each other a bit…consider…they are willing to pay higher taxes to help others have insurance, but don’t want to pay higher premiums to add people with existing conditions.

A lot of the questions had tracking from 1991 to now.  If accurate, I find it an interesting take on the American mindset concerning health insurance.

I truly do not know the answer to the health care debate.  But there is one thing I am sure of…well maybe two things.  One is that our country is in very bad shape economically and currently has incurred more debt than is realistic for generations to come to pay, which means we don’t have the money to spend, UNLESS there are drastic reductions made elsewhere in order to fund health care.  The other thing I know is that government is rarely able to run anything competently.  We are all shocked and horrified at the graft and corruption that it seems Wall Street was involved in with the recent housing bubble that burst last year, but let us all remember the graft and corruption of our own government’s involvement with it.  The government would like us to believe that it’s those “greedy, rich businesses and CEO’s” that were at fault, but I say emphatically, they had plenty of help from our own  greedy and corrupt representatives in Congress.

It’s too bad one of the questions on the questionaire wasn’t…do you trust your government to do what’s best for you.

Update: But wait…there’s a Rasmussen poll conducted at the same time that says only 41% of Americans say a government health care plan is a good idea.

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