Health plans and pharmaceutical companies at most to blame for the problems facing the U.S. health system, according to Americans surveyed in the latest Harris Poll.
But while 9 in 10 Americans blame health insurers, and 8 in 10 blame pharmas, there’s also plenty of blame to go around to politicians on both sides of the aisle, business, hospitals, and doctors. These health care players, however, don’t deserve as much blame — not the ‘great deal of blame’ that most Americans ascribe to either health insurers or drug companies.
Least to blame, according to the Poll? Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Support for President Obama’s health plan has grown between July and August, from 42% to 49% — now roughly the level of support in January 2009. The percentage of those Americans who oppose the President’s reform proposals doubled between January and August, from 20% to 40%. Only 11% are now “unsure” about how they feel about “Obamacare.”
Republicans are far more certain that the President’s health reform plans would create a “government-run health system.” The numbers here are very stark: 80% of Republicans say that the President’s plans would lead to a government-run system, compared to 43% of Democrats and 64% of Independents. More Democrats are uncertain as to this outcome.
Democrats have more faith in the President’s plan, too, when it comes to whether Americans could keep their existing insurance.
This Poll was conducted in August among 2,984 American adults. The sample was balanced to be representative of the American adult population.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: So if “it’s the health plans, stupid” is the mantra of American citizens’ blame for health system failings, why isn’t the public demanding a public plan to compete with health insurers?

This Harris Poll shows stark differences between Americans who call themselves “Democrats” versus “Republicans.” Democrats trust the President more and are more comfortable with his approach to health reform; Republicans aren’t. No surprise here, based on the past few month’s health events in town halls and in the aftermath of Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” outburst in the joint Congressional session.

The bottom line, the Poll shows, is that there continues to be a mass lack of understanding about the health reform issues and the role of the public plan option in health reform. Squeaky wheels and voters get the grease in these instances, and it is no surprise that a public option was omitted from the latest health reform bill that came out today.


Still, most doctors believe that Americans should be offered a public option, according to a poll published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, results shown in the pie chart. Physician, heal thy health system? It appears most believe the system can only be healed with both a public and private option.

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