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Almost half of all Americans think government insurance plan will worsen healthcare.

Posted Jan 15 2009 7:06pm
A report out from Rasmussen Reports states that almost half of all U.S. voters think the quality of healthcare would decline if a national health insurance plan was created and implemented to compete with the private sector. Only one third of those polled said the quality of care would get better. Another 15% were unsure.

Forty-seven percent of those in the study thought it better to expand our current healthcare insurance coverage through existing private insurers and not federal programs using Medicare and Medicaid as examples. Only 39% believe that congress will be able to pass new healthcare legislation in 2009.

Some tough perspectives out there that the team Obama will have to overcome if they are to be successful in revamping the ailing U.S. healthcare system. While there may be 46 - 47 million and climbing Americans that don't have health insurance or adequate health insurance the issues facing healthcare are not singularly related to the insurability status of patients. Not to minimize the number of uninsured in this country but it is only 15% of the current population (303.8 million).

There are many other issues at stake here that are causing fiscal hardships in healthcare.

  1. There are significant provider shortages for both physicians and nurses. The nursing shortage has been in progress for years. My argument on this issue is less talked about because my feeling is that there are plenty of nurses in the US to mitigate our current deficits. The problem is that many nurses have left the profession because of wide spread problems with salaries, working conditions, and lateral violence. There are lots of nurses out there they just don't want to be in the field any more. New physicians are not entering the less lucrative fields in healthcare even when the demand is high for them - primary care, gerontology,etc.
  2. Reimbursement rates are horrible for most facilities. It is less of an issue of whether a patient has insurance as it is that the services provided by a healthcare organization are not adequately paid for by insurance companies. This is unlikely to change even if team Obama gets a universal payer configured. Reimbursement rates have to improve.
  3. The costs associated with medical equipment, medications, consumable supplies drive the cost of care up as much as anything else. Front end costs in healthcare need to be reviewed for fairness and appropriateness - no $300 hammers.
  4. Voters are concerned about quality of care. Well the quality of care not only is dependent upon the level of a provider's training and experience it is dependent upon the ability of any healthcare organization to meet the care demands of the communities that they serve. High demand for services requires more resources - providers, beds, etc. Clearly some sort of needs assessment should be undertaken on a national scale that looks at the number of healthcare organizations that exist in relation to population size and the dispersement configuration of hospitals to ensure that population centers are adequately served. That in my mind is a big slice of quality. This is especially needed with the amount of care that is going to be needed to accommodate all those baby boomers. If our existing healthcare infrastructure is incapable of handling the demands placed on it than quality will get tossed.
  5. Our current economy - that goes without saying.
While the Rasmussen report has some interesting numbers the most concerning issue here is that Americans think revamping our third party paying system will fix healthcare, it wont.
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