Poll: Pessimism Deepens on U.S. Healthcare
More than six in 10 adults in the United States (62%) are pessimistic about the prospect that the American healthcare system will improve during the next five years, according to a new Harris Poll. Furthermore, two out of three of those surveyed believe healthcare should mainly be treated as an entitlement "like education, police and fire protection, and highways, rather than as a product or service where you get what you can afford and want to pay for," the study found.
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey of 2,306 people between September 16 and 23. The authors of the survey report attributed the lopsided 62% pessimism to 25% optimism in respondents' attitudes to the rapid rise in healthcare costs and skepticism about the congressional conference committee's struggle to reconcile the House and Senate bills to provide a Medicare prescription-drug benefit. "It is still not clear whether any bill will actually emerge and be signed into law. If it is not, public pessimism may grow," according to Harris Interactive. "Even if it is, the public may be less than enthusiastic about any new bill."
Although pessimism reigned in every group identified in the results, those who were somewhat less pessimistic were survey participants who identified themselves as Republicans (55% pessimistic, 34% optimistic), conservatives (56% versus 34%) and people age 65 or older (55% and 31%)- "who stand to benefit eventually if there is a new Medicare drug benefit," the researchers suggested. Among people registering the highest levels of pessimism about U. …