Poll: Healthcare Consumers Want Best of Both Worlds

March 17, 2008
Special Feature

Healthcare costs are too high, say 90% of the people surveyed in a recent poll by the Mayo Clinic. But eight out of 10 also say it’s very or extremely important that patients be free to choose whatever physicians or hospital they want to go to. And more than seven out of 10 don’t think that pre-existing conditions should be a barrier to coverage.

15%Percentage of Americans who would support a tax increase to pay for healthcare reform. (Mayo Clinic, 2008)

Healthcare costs are too high, say 90% of the people surveyed in a recent poll by the Mayo Clinic. But eight out of 10 also say it’s very or extremely important that patients be free to choose whatever physicians or hospital they want to go to. And more than seven out of 10 don’t think that pre-existing conditions should be a barrier to coverage.

When asked about funding, two-thirds think it’s important that the federal government play a role in paying for health care, but when reform is the topic, only 31% think Congress can do the job, and even fewer—just 16%—look to the President for action. Insurance companies (32%) and consumers (29%) garnered just about as many votes as Congress. Given those tepid figures, it’s not surprising that two-thirds of those surveyed don’t think any significant change in the system is likely to happen within the next 10 years.

For real results, however, health officials say the American patient must be more empowered. “The reform ideas that resonated most showed that Americans want the information, tools, and access to providers to better manage their own health,” explains Robert Smoldt, MBA, executive director of the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center.

“To do nothing is also a good remedy.”

—Hippocrates