Iowa gained early-bird status for primary season as it set the date for its caucus as early in the new year as it could: January 3, 2008. A new survey indicates that Iowans are restless about health care.

, a consumer-led health advocacy group, sponsored the Iowa survey as part of its “Pulse” research program.

Iowans believe that (1) health care services should stress disease prevention over high-technology cures, (2) more public accountability is needed in how health care dollars are spent, and, (3) “basic” health services should include access to any licensed health care professional. While the survey results revealed no solid consensus among voters on how to pay for services, they also indicate no strong preferences for either government run health care or personal responsibility, leaning instead for shared responsibility.

In fact, Iowans have little confidence in the very groups that have the power to change the system. Only 22% trust the federal government to fix the system, and only 12% expect that the presidential election will kick off a new vision for health care in the U.S.

When it comes to presidential candidates’ proposals, Iowans believe the Democrats have the most meaningful plans (38%). Just 15% say Republican candidates have the best proposals

Who’s trusted to design a new health system? H
ealth care professionals and non-profit organizations are way ahead of business professionals, federal government, and academic institutions. A resounding 65% of Iowans would support a non-partisan, non-profit civic organization composed of regular citizens.

Health Populi Hot Points: Who knows better than those who work in health care, up-close-and-personal, along with patients/consumers and their caregivers, on what’s needed to change health care in America for the better? Whether Iowans represent the national opinion, there’s clearly major cynicism concerning the federal government’s ability and trustworthiness to fix the health system. What is that old saw about voters getting the government they deserve? If that’s so, perhaps the 2008 elections will yield a more worthy electorate.