Polls Reveal American Public And Employers’ Positions On Health CareCNN reports that most Americans support greater government influence in health care. "Sixty-three percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they would favor an increase in the federal government's influence over their own health care plans in an attempt to lower costs and provide coverage to more Americans; 36 percent were opposed." The poll "also suggests that slightly more than six out of 10 think the government should guarantee health care for all Americans, with 38 percent opposed. But Americans appear to be split over raising taxes to increase coverage. Forty-seven percent of those questioned support raising taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans. An equal amount back the idea of keeping taxes at current levels but not providing health insurance for all Americans."
The poll suggests that public sentiment has shifted on healthcare from the time of the Clinton administration but remains highly partisan. CNN reported that "Democrats overwhelmingly support increased government influence over their healthcare coverage in return for lower costs and great coverage for more Americans. Six out of 10 independents feel the same way, but only one in four Republicans agrees" (Steinhauser, 5/29).
Meanwhile, the Denver Business Journal reported on a new survey that found that "employers nationwide are modifying their employee health care benefits to include more cost-saving measures" in light of the financial crisis. The survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that "72 percent of public employers are increasing or considering an increase in their employees' deductibles, coinsurance or copays. In addition, 74 percent of public employers are increasing or considering an increase in employee premiums. When asked why they were considering higher deductibles, 46 percent of public employers cite the financial crisis. Almost the same percent, 45 percent, cite the crisis as the reason why they are thinking about higher employee premiums."
Public employers also are instituting programs that "include adding a consumer-driven health plan, shifting to a self-funded plan and introducing spousal surcharges," the Denver Business Journal reported. "Nearly three-fourths of public plan sponsors are placing more emphasis on controlling prescription drug costs. The majority of public employers are expanding participant education about drug options and costs, increasing copayments and/or coinsurance for drugs and mandating the use of generic drugs" (5/30).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.