Cost of Healthcare Is Americans’ Top Financial Concern
By Andrew Dugan
Gallup, June 23, 2017
The cost of healthcare is now the top financial problem facing U.S. families. Concern about healthcare costs is at nearly the same level now as it was in 2007, a time before the recession and the passage of the ACA.
What is the most important financial problem facing your family today (open ended)?
17% – Healthcare costs
11% – Too much debt/Not enough money to pay debts
10% – Lack of money/Low wages
10% – College expenses
9% – Cost of owning/renting a home
8% – High cost of living/Inflation
Other choices 6% or less (see table at link)
Public support for ‘single payer’ health coverage grows, driven by Democrats
By Jocelyn Kiley
Pew Research Center, June 23, 2017
A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.
Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats – especially liberal Democrats – are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.
Among Democrats, 52% now say health insurance should be provided through a single national insurance system run by the government, while fewer (31%) say it should be provided through a mix of private companies and government programs. The share of Democrats supporting a single national program to provide health insurance has increased 9 percentage points since January and 19 points since 2014.
Nearly two-thirds of liberal Democrats (64%) now support a single-payer health insurance system, up 13 percentage points since January.
Two-thirds of adults younger than 30 (67%) say the government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all, with 45% saying coverage should be provided through a single national program.
Among Republicans, a greater share of those younger than 30 (39%) than those 30 and older (28%) say the government is responsible for providing health coverage for all; more young Republicans than older Republicans favor single payer (22% vs. 10%).
The share viewing this as a government responsibility has increased 9 percentage points since 2016, from 51% to 60%.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Cost of health care is the top financial concern of Americans, and that has been increasing, now as high as it was before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. The more reassuring news is that support for a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all remains high, and preference for a single payer approach is increasing.
That increase in single payer support is greater amongst Democrats, especially liberals, and amongst adults under 30. Although the concept of single payer is less popular amongst Republicans, some do favor it.
We should take advantage of being sure that those not yet sold on single payer understand two things; 1) They are correct that the Affordable Care Act is not satisfactory because it falls far short of universality and it fails to prevent financial hardship, and thus it needs to be replaced, and 2) The six years of vacuous proposals of the Republican legislators have obliterated any hope that a solution lies within the fantasies of a free market health care nirvana. The Republican proposals acknowledge that government involvement is essential, but they propose an emasculated role – the worst kind of government, heavy with bureaucracy but placing our tax funds into the hands of entrepreneurial rent seekers.
More people are realizing that the circuitous route taken by our health care dollars wastes tremendous resources while depriving too many individuals of the health care access and financial protection that they need. Conservatives and the business community are beginning to understand this. We have to make sure that we provide the information to them that they need to have a clearer understanding of optimal health care financing policy. Not only is $3.2 trillion at stake, our health is as well.
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