To hear liberals in Congress tell the story, the American health care system is crumbling before our very eyes, the unwashed masses are desperate for a solution, and only the United States government can save us. But a recent poll of 1,200 registered U.S. voters provides a striking contrast between voter attitudes toward health care reform and some oft-repeated myths being pushed in media and on Capitol Hill.
Here’s a look at seven of the most common myths, versus what American voters actually think:
Myth #1: Americans are clamoring for health care reform.
They aren’t. Only 5% of voters cite health care as either the top issue facing the country, as the biggest problem facing their daily lives or even as the greatest fear they have for themselves or their families. In fact when given a specific list of issues to choose from, health care comes in far behind the top concerns of 95% of American voters.
Myth #2: The U.S. Health Care system needs a complete overhaul.
Says who? Not American voters. Slightly more voters (47%) say that our health care system can be fixed with some minor reforms versus those who say it needs a radical overhaul (44%).
Myth #3: Coverage for the uninsured is the major problem facing the U.S. Health Care system.
By nearly a 3 to 1 margin, these voters see rising health care and health insurance costs as the biggest problem over too many being without insurance coverage. While government takeover advocates are fond of talking about millions of uninsured Americans, they generally fail to mention that many of those are uninsured by choice, or only temporarily uninsured. Yet this single misleading statistic remains a favorite of Congressional liberals as they make the case for a government takeover.
Myth #4: Government, not free market competition, is the best way to reduce health care costs.
Again, false. Clear majorities say that MORE competition among health care providers will do more to lower costs than increased government involvement. Further, pluralities believe that increased government involvement will cause health care costs and insurance premiums to go up. Americans undoubtedly feel this way because there are few (if any) examples where government involvement in any endeavor, let alone health care, actually caused prices to go down.
Myth #5: Americans are more open/accepting of government-run health care solution.
A clear and strong majority of voters prefer a private run health care system over a government-run system. Fully 55% of American voters say, if given the choice, they would opt for a private health care solution over a government solution. Only 37% would opt for a government takeover of health care.
Myth #6: Americans understand we must sacrifice to ensure coverage for all.
When pitted head to head, large majorities of voters (69%) choose a private run health care system that doesn’t cover all Americans, but protects everyone’s fundamental right to make their own health care choices, over a government-run system that covers everyone but restricts certain health care options (18%).
Myth #7: Americans want a health care system more like Canada and/or Great Britain.
Voters have mixed opinions about the Canadian and British health care systems with a sizeable number not having a firm opinion on either. But, more than 3 in 4 voters say they would most prefer to get treatment or health care services here in the U.S. over either Canada or Great Britain.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom in Washington, voters are NOT willing to commit to a radical overhaul of our health care system. They are clearly suspicious of more government involvement and think it won’t drive down costs — which is their biggest complaint about the current health care system. A clear and large majority still prefer a private-run over a government-run system. Moreover, when faced with the potential choice of giving up their fundamental health care rights to ensure universal coverage, majorities are unwilling to do so.
In sharp contrast to these myths, American voters enthusiastically rally around the basic reform principles promoted by Conservatives for Patients’ Rights — Choice, Competition, Accountability and Personal Responsibility, by overwhelming margins. For example, 87% of voters believe individuals should receive the same tax breaks as employers when buying health insurance. An astounding 97% want the freedom to choose their own doctor without restriction from government or insurance plans. And 87% of Americans want health care providers and doctors to publicly post their prices so they can shop and compare.
As the health care debate continues, it is clear that Americans overwhelmingly demand free market health care. As others continue to push myths, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights will continue to educate Americans on the real agenda of Congressional health care reform, promote our key principles and serve as an early warning system against more government boards and power grabs.