Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Americans Oppose Health Insurance Restrictions

Americans are calling for reforms in the health care system but increasingly want health insurance to be left as a free market system. In contrast, the largest portion of legislative initiatives throughout the country focuses on revising and restricting health insurance and leaves the rest of the health care system unchanged. Public opinion, at least judged by the trend of opinions posted on many news Web sites, shows increasing awareness of the distinction and intolerance of this political approach. The pattern of failures of legislative actions aimed at addressing health care costs - ranging from Health Savings Accounts to universal health insurance in Massachusetts – underscore the fact that addressing health insurance laws will not solve the health care crisis. Americans want to address the real underlying causes of high health care costs and want health insurance to remain an open market system with a range of individual choices.

A new survey called “2008 Health Care for America Survey” sponsored by the AFL-CIO of 260,000 mostly middle income respondents showed that one third of Americans skipped needed health care because of the high cost. The decision does not appear to be connected to whether or not they had health insurance. This is in contradiction to the primary arguments for universal health insurance.

This week’s U.S. News and World Reports (3/25/08) says “"There is a lot of data that suggests that those who do have private health-care coverage are very satisfied," said (the executive vice President of Americans Health Insurance Plans). One survey found that "87 percent of respondents with private insurance said their health-care coverage gives access to good medical care at an affordable cost".

This blog covers reports on many of the state reform proposals as reported by various media and we find that an increasing number of commentators are in tune with the theme “keep the government out of health care” and “let a market economy prevail in health insurance”. Writers in online forums are increasingly concerned that pending or proposed legislation may restrict access to low cost health insurance plans like short term medical insurance and supplemental limited benefit health insurance that are now available through cost-conscious consumer Web sites like

One of the well-phrased comments in this theme was published today in The Cente Times newspaper quoting Keith Richardson, 46, of Clarion, Pennsylvania; pastor of the First Baptist Church of Clarion running for the 5th Congressional District. “We have to look to the root causes for increases in medical costs, such as lawsuit abuse and excessive governmental intervention. I’d seek reforms that curb lawsuit abuse, such as capping punitive damages in most cases, or making plaintiffs in frivolous suits responsible for costs. I’d oppose any attempts to nationalize health care insurance. Free-market, private- sector forces are key to efficient and competitive health care and insurance systems. More government involvement means higher costs, greater waste, lower efficiency and reduced quality of health care. Just ask anyone from Canada who gladly pays extra to get health care in the U.S.” Based on recent trends of published opinions on the topic of health care reform, we beleive Mr. Richardson's position now represents the general opinion of the majority of Americans.

Although we see a lack of confidence in the U.S. health care system overall, there is growing indication that Americans oppose the increased regulation of health insurance as a solution to the problem.

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