Highly educated Americans support health reform; those with no college education don’t. 10% of Republicans support President Obama’s proposals for health changes; 77% of Democrats do.
The schisms between groupings of Americans who support health reform in February 2010 versus those who don’t are wide, and many, depending how you slice the data. The Harris Poll conduced in late January 2010 starkly illustrates these gaps between supporters and detractors of health reform coming from the President’s pen.
Most tellingly, The Poll finds that it doesn’t much matter what the details are: “support for, or opposition to, health care reform has little to do with what is actually proposed,” Harris’s polling data indicates.
Ironically, there are several important elements of health reform that majorities of Americans, across segments, support:
  • Transparency of costs and quality, supported by 87%
  • Administrative simplification, supported by 76%
  • Piloting new reimbursement programs, supported by 75%
  • Creating an insurance exchange, favored by 73%
  • Preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining coverage, supported by 2/3 of Americans
  • Allowing kids to stay on parents’ insurance plans until they turn 25-26, supported by 65%.
The biggest opposition overall is for an individual mandate, opposed by 2 in 3 Americans.
The Poll was conducted online between January 18-25, 2010, among 2,576 adults age 18 and over.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Underlying these statistics is the fact that while there is broad support for many key elements of health reform, Americans are concerned about the taxes required to support these changes as the economic recovery continues to be job-less and housing markets haven’t yet bounced back.
As specific details are supported in theory, the President and health reform policy writers haven’t packaged and communicated the value proposition to Americans overall. Given that the most educated Americans with post-graduate degrees show the most support for reforms, perhaps the complexity of the health system and outline of health reform has been just too obtuse and customer un-friendly to the public-at-large.
I’ve been concerned about health literacy and health plan literacy for many years. Now I’ve got angst about health reform literacy.

5 Comments on Health reform illiteracy – when people oppose reform in 2010, they don't really know what they're opposing

Paul Roemer said : Guest Report 11 years ago

I'd be willing to bet the converse is also true, that those who support healthcare reform do not really know what they are supporting, including those in the Congress who voted for it. I think they would fail a test on the particulars of the legislation, particulars that impact their constituents.

Ron Milhorn said : Guest Report 11 years ago

I think you're right on the money. I knew the folks who got Medicare passed. They had to pare down their arguments to 2-3 simple statements. It still took 4 years, LBJ's persuasiveness and passed by only a handful of votes. The opposition to the mandate clearly indicates few people understand the nature of health insurance or how it must be administered to make it affordable.

Heath Davis Havlick said : Guest Report 11 years ago

Once again, the majority of America has been insulted. We're apparently just too dumb to understand how wonderful health care reform is. I'm a college graduate with some post-grad work, and let me tell you that I don't oppose this version of health care reform because I don't understand it. It's because I DO. I'd also like to point out that the vast majority of colleges and universities have an unabashed liberal slant and agenda, and they tend to churn out like-minded folk. That could very likely be why the "best-educated" are in favor of current health care reform efforts. Only about 20% of Americans attend college, so they certainly do not represent the majority, and their opinion should not automatically be held in higher esteem.

Pete said : Guest Report 11 years ago

Excellent post. Check out the comments from these similarly baffled & worried guys who spoke to the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8474611.stm

Pete said : Guest Report 11 years ago

Here's an interesting (but not totally balanced) take on this by a BBC journo:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8474611.stm

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