2 in 3 Americans want the US health care system to change. Most don’t believe that change will come any time soon. In fact, most Americans don’t think they’ll see much change in American health care by the time the next-next Presidential election will be held — by 2012.

Jon Berry knows buzz: he’s the author of The Influentials, and last year he re-joined the market research firm GfK Roper. Berry is an expert on word-of-mouth marketing and the power of buzz. And his latest look into American buzz has led him to the conclusion that only 23% of Americans expect change in health care within 4 years.

As the chart illustrates, over one-half of Americans most want change in the price of gas, the War in Iraq, Social Security, health care, immigration, and the environment. The top areas for change are in synch with the latest election tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (see Health Populi’s latest analysis of the poll here).

However, when it comes to thinking about whether change will actually occur in the next 4 years, Americans aren’t very optimistic. When it comes to controlling the cost of gas prices, 3 in 4 want the change, but only 1 in 4 expect it.

In health care, 2 in 3 want change, and only 1 in 4 expect change.

And Social Security reform seems even more elusive: 66% want change, and only 19% of Americans expect it.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Could Americans be getting more realistic about the pace of change in the nation, and the possibilities for reforms? It’s instructive to examine GfK Roper’s data from back during the 2002 recession, when citizens were most concerned about terrorism and crime.

What the intervening six years have wrought on the collective mind of US citizens…growing cynicism among the populace…and a $2 trillion+ drop out of workers’ 401(K)s and pensions.

Financial insecurity and limbo trumps all…with health care costs ranking a top economic issue whether in 2002, and six years later.