72 percent of Americans Want a Government Option for Healthcare

The question shouldn’t be: “Do you want a government bureaucrat making decisions about your health instead of your doctor?”  The question should be, “Who would you rather have making decisions about your health? A government bureaucrat or a profit-driven insurance executive who makes more money for his/her company by denying coverage?”  Because you and your doctor don’t really make decisions about your health — the people who pay for your medical benefits do. And if that’s the case (it is), give me the government bureaucrat. 

I had a major surgery in November.  It took twice as long for my insurance company to approve the procedure even though my doctors and I were in total agreement.  It also took the threat of a lawsuit for a denial of service I was qualified for in order to get the surgery scheduled. So that notion you’ll have to wait for care if the government takes over is also true for healthcare with private insurance.

And with healthcare reform on the front burner, most Americans want a government option to private insurance according to a new poll by CBS News and the New York Times.  From the story:

“A clear majority of Americans — 72 percent — support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds. Most also think the government would do a better job than private industry at keeping down costs and believe that the government should guarantee health care for all Americans.

Americans generally see government involvement in health care in a positive light, and most support it. Fifty percent think the government would be better than insurance companies at providing medical coverage (up from 30 percent in 2007), and 59 percent think the government would be at better holding down costs (up from 47 percent in 2007).

More generally, 64 percent of Americans say the government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans. Just 30 percent think this is not its responsibility. Those percentages have been stable for many years.

When presented with the option of a government-administered health insurance plan similar to Medicare to compete with private health insurance companies, 72 percent are in favor and just 20 percent oppose. Even 50 percent of Republicans favor that option.”

What’s clear is that healthcare costs are rising dramatically.  Costs are increasing twice as fast as earnings and considerably higher than inflation.  Estimates of the number of Americans without healthcare ranges between 37 and 50 million.

From this story in MSNBC:

“Aon Consulting surveyed about 70 health insurers around the country, including companies such as Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. It found that actuaries expect costs to rise an average of 10.6 percent during 12-month rating periods starting this year between April and September.

That represents a slight drop from last year’s forecast of 10.9 percent and a bigger fall from 2002, when health care costs were expected to rise by more than 16 percent.

But the percentage likely won’t be what the average employee faces for a premium hike next year. It doesn’t reflect insurance plan designs or changes an employer might make to benefits plans.

“Pretty much every employer has to do something or is doing something in an effort to bring that number down,” Sharon said.

He said actual cost increases have wound up being three to four percentage points lower than preliminary estimates in the past couple of years. Still, he said Aon Consulting’s survey gives employers a benchmark to use as they consider premium renewals.

Many employers have started researching their benefit options for 2009. Consultants say it’s too early for predictions on next year’s health care plan costs.

But Ken Ambos of Equity Risk Partners Inc. said midsize employers could see a cost increase of roughly 9 to 12 percent that they pare down to 6 to 9 percent. Equity Risk Partners is a risk management and employee benefits consulting firm

Costs are still rising to keep up with growing patient demand for services, the needs of an aging population and prescription drug and technology costs, according to Aon Consulting, a subsidiary of Aon Corp.”

 But there is still considerable fight from Libertarians and Conservatives who insist that the government stay out of healthcare.  But imagine if you will that we substitute the terms “healthcare” for “education or infrastructure or public safety” and eliminate the word “premiums” with “taxes.”  They’d scream like stuck pigs, wouldn’t they?

Without a government option, one thing is clear.  Costs will keep going up and more Americans will be priced out of even private insurance health coverage.  From Health News Daily:

Unless health-care reform becomes a reality, most Americans can expect to pay health insurance premiums that will double by 2016, a new report claims.

Left unchecked, the costs of employer-paid health insurance will jump from $11,381 to $24,291 in the next seven years, according to the report, which was released Wednesday by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

And wasteful spending and inefficiencies are what is fueling the trend, the report contends.

“As costs rise, one out of three American’s health-care dollars are going to waste and inefficiency,” said report co-author Larry C. McNeely II, a U.S. PIRG Health Care Advocate.

Wasted dollars include inappropriate and unnecessary care, inflated drug prices and administrative bureaucracy, McNeely said. The total cost in waste in 2007 for insurance bureaucracies, drug companies, medical device manufacturers and providers was $730 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

  2 comments for “72 percent of Americans Want a Government Option for Healthcare

  1. June 22, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Fron the website FiveThirtyEight.com we’ve got this analysis:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/grassroots-bipartisanship-on-health.html

  2. Eric Cooper
    June 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

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