While President Obama has spoken more in public about health reform than any other topic in his tenure as president to-date, and health care is a much-covered subject in mass media outlets, most Americans remain confused about the President’s health plan.

Ironically, the wealthy support the plan more than people with lower incomes. Yet the President’s plan provides for universal coverage and a public option designed, in theory, to promote competition and lower costs to health citizens.

Only 1 in 3 Americans say they understand the plan, according to a poll from Siegel+Gale conducted online by WEGO Health the weekend following the President’s speech to Congress in mid-September 2009.

Alan Siegel, Chairman of Siegel+Gale, blames Americans’ lack of understanding on poor media coverage, emotions, and political-infighting.

The survey found that plan support lags even among the Democratically-leaning health activist panel hosted by WEGO Health. Only 45% of them support the President’s plan.

Overall, 57% of Democrats support the health plan, as do 54 of Independents who lean Democratic. Fewer than 10% of Republicans and Independents who lean Republican support the plan.

Among “pure Independents,” 21% support the health reform plan.

The survey was conducted by WEGO Health among 1,042 American adults and 102 of WEGO Health’s ‘health activists’ on their panel.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Is the Obama plan understandable only to those with college educations, reflected in the proxy measure of higher income households supporting the plan more than lower income citizens?
Can the plan be explained in simpler terms so the mainstream can understand it in a few minutes?

We are in the era of health citizen ADD. CIGNA found in a recent survey that it stresses Americans out to even think about health care and the costs of care.

Siegel+Gale is a marketing/brand consultancy. Clearly, for health reform to positively resonate with the public, it needs a brand re-do. Task 1 in the re-imagining of health reform is to keep it simple. And, when you think about the level of health insurance plan illiteracy in the U.S. — over and above health illiteracy — we’ll need the best brand managers around for this job.

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