Study: Public Opinion On Health Care Reform Has Echoes Of 1994
"Americans' opinion of the health care proposals now before Congress is eerily similar to public sentiment about the Clinton health reform initiatives in 1994, according to an analysis published online yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine - and that may not bode well for Democrats," The Boston Globe reports. "Americans believe the health care system needs to be fixed and they like many of the ideas Democrats are proposing, the report found. But they believe the specific proposals taking shape would not benefit them personally, and they fear they could result in more expensive and lower-quality care." The study analyzed "more than 30 polls conducted this fall and during the spring of 1994, when the Clinton health reform effort was gasping its last breaths."
Robert Blendon, a health policy professor at Harvard and co-author of the study, "said the reason support for health care overhaul deteriorates when the questions focus on specific legislation is that people rarely consider that fixing problems requires trade-offs." Blendon added that the research "suggests that proponents of the health care overhaul should more clearly articulate how their legislation would benefit middle-class Americans ... regular families facing large medical bills they cannot afford to pay" (Wangsness, 11/5).
The Associated Press has an explainer on past presidents who have attempted comprehensive health care reform and why they have not successes. "Many have tried. Only Lyndon Johnson achieved transcendent reform, with passage of Medicare and Medicaid protecting the elderly and poor, but universal coverage has been an elusive goal for over a century" (Woodward, 11/4).