Drawn from a presentation Dr. Matt Hendrickson gave at a Single-Payer Healthcare forum given in Santa Monica last month, our LA Progressive survey was designed to underscore just how dire America’s healthcare system has become—and to give you a chance to test your knowledge and intuitions.
Hendrickson is the founder of the Southern California Chapter of Physicians for National Healthcare Program. We reported on the presentation in “A Long and Winding Road to Universal Healthcare.” Our recent “Healthcare Myths and Realities” is another good source of myth-busting facts.
You can go directly to the results here of our 192 participants here:
Here are the results.
How many more Americans are uninsured than 30 years ago? Currently, there are 47 million uninsured Americans; 30 years ago there were 23 million. 17.7% got that one right; more of you—34.8%--thought the answer is 33 million.
How much more do Americans pay per capita each year for healthcare than Swedes? Swedes pay on average $3,200 each year for healthcare; for Americans, the combined private and public costs per person are $6,710. That’s a difference of $3,500, which 22.3% got right. More—41.6%--thought the answer was $5,500. In Japan, the per capita costs are just $2,470; in Canada, the number is $3,680.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that in 2082 American healthcare costs will be what percentage of GDP? The CBO estimates that if current trends continue, healthcare costs will consume 100% of GDP in 2082. Just 8.8% understood that gravity. More of you—29.1%--thought the number would be 60%. Of course, this is one of the survey’s “omigod” moments, as healthcare costs can never consume all of GDP. The economy would fall apart first, and that is the point.
In what year are health insurance premium costs projected to surpass average household income? In another “omigod” moment, healthcare costs will exceed average household income in 2026—just 17 years from now. Somehow 52% of you got that right. Peeking ahead at the answers? Using the Google? Just smart as can be? Beats me.
Which country among these has both the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rates? Okay, I can understand that 92.7% got this right. In America, life expectancy is 77.8, and infant mortality is 6.7 per 1000. All the other countries—Canada, Australia, Italy, and Germany—have significantly better numbers. During his presentation, Matt Hendrickson went on to show that the poor results for Americans are not caused by smoking, or drinking, as residents of the other countries drink more and smoke more than Americans. On obesity, however, Americans are far ahead of other countries; only Samoans suffer greater rates of obesity.
Since 1970, the number of physicians in the U.S. has grown by what percentage? Since 1970, the number of hospital administrators in the U.S. has grown by what percentage? This two-part question is another of those “omigod” moments. Since 1970, the number of physicians in America has risen by about 100%; 54.6% thought the grown was at 0%--not likely, given that population has grown dramatically in those nearly 40 years. But the growth in the number of hospital administrators has been 3000%. As in three thousand percent. Right there, we can see where the problem lies. Just 10.9% of you got that right. 31.7% guessed 300%.
Because we distributed our survey to our newsletter subscribers and members of the LA Progressive’s Facebook page, we know that these results say little about the mood of America generally. But it does reflect what’s happening in at least a segment of the progressive community. You can see by the kind of health insurance reforms our respondents would support:
- A full single-payer system modeled on those found in Canada, Britain, and much of Europe. 87.3% in favor.
- A vigorous public option that would effectively contain healthcare costs. 63.4% in favor.
- A weaker public option or coop plan that would at least insure at least some currently uninsured Americans: 15.2% in favor.
- A plan that would require Americans to buy insurance through existing private health insurers: 3.5% in favor.
- Any plan: 1.5% in favor
- No plan currently under discussion: 7.1%
Surprisingly, just 32.9% of respondents would favor a plan that covers abortions and just 25.3% favor one that would cover undocumented workers. Perhaps, those low number reflect our knowledge that the right-wing opposers use those two proposals at hot-button issues to rally opposition.
Our recent “Healthcare Myths and Realities” is another good source of myth-busting facts.
The full set of correct answers are here.
-- Dick & Sharon
Here are the full set of write-in responses, many of them right on the money.
- We need a public option. Insurance companies are rationing health care and telling doctors what they can and cannot do. Prescription companies are substituting generic drugs for name brands which often do not work as well just to cut costs. It is a shame that in a country as wealthy as ours there are so many uninsured. If one loses their job, they lose their health care and COBRA is cost prohibitive. We spend more money on end of life care for the uninsured then we do for preventive medicine.
- LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE...NOT THE MONEY MAKERS AND PROFITEERS...REALIZS WE ARE IN CRISIS AND WE ARE GOING TO FALL HARD IF WE DO NOT PASS A BILL THAT PROVIDES FOR ALL WITHOUT THREATS OR PENALTIES
- I'm not sure. Honestly, the whole thing... EVERYTHING... about healthcare confuses the crap out of me. Has anyone put this into simple terms?
- America is suppose to be the land of promise, dreams come true and everything we and other countries strive for...A robust healthcare reform must be implemented. It is a shame that people in the US documented and undocumented cannot afford the basic necessities. Especially in a country that allows unhealthy restaurant chains to spew its vile and contaminate our future. I, we, the Administration, Congress and the media should do whatever necessary to ensure that a Health Bill and health reform takes place.
- Single payer option. The only true way to cut costs is to start anew and get rid of the crooks and special interests. People just need to be educated. Instead of educating the administration took it off the table.
- Single payer, nonprofit system paid for by payroll taxes and surcharge on employers based upon the overall health of their workforce.
- I fill that President Obama needs to understand that his wish for bipartisan support will never happen since the Republican side has busied itself with undermining any and everything that he hopes to accomplish.The President has to establish with everyone that he is President and stop trying to please everyone. The Media has to stop allowing the disinformation to go unchallenged, in other words when someone makes a statement that scares the hell out of white people, clarify the disinformation with what really is in the proposed bill. Also, it would be huge if the Media would stop giving the screamers at town hall meetings all the grand standing coverage and show more of the people who know how to address a public official with the respect due them. Finally, we as regular citizens need to stay on our elected officials to get this health care plan done. Why? It's really simple, "peoples lives depend on it"
- Counter the LIES!!!!!
- Create a single-payer system like all other industrialized (and even some non-industrialized) nations, of which we are far behind in this regard. The Medicare system is in place and could be expanded to include those uninsured. It is a system widely acclaimed by doctors and patients alike.
- This would require the private insurance industry to trim excessive profits and disincentives for cost-cutting efficiencies to be implemented in order to compete with Medicare.
- Implement HR676. With the massive increases of productivity in the last 100 years there is no excuse for us to have the lousiest health care system of the developed countries. Health care should always be non-profit. Single payer government system is the best and most effective. We need to take person rights away from corporation. We need public campaign finance. Ban corporations from any political activity and no lobbyists. I propose 50,000 to 100,000 standard deduction.. Tax rates of 90% for income over $2 million. Corporate CEO's are dictators who are running our country.
- Expand and CHANGE the NAME of FEP and offer it to ALL. Tax junk foods, i.e. chips, soft drinks, candy, and fast foods to partially fund healthcare.
- Tax the very rich to raise a trillion dollars a year in new revenue to not only pay for universal health care, but also for our even more essential needs such as full employment, living wages for all workers, decent benefits for those who cannot work, affordable housing for all, and massive foreign aid to solve world poverty, etc., etc. Use ballot initiatives, since the gov't doesn't want to tax the rich enough. Visit c4prog.blogspot
- Regulate the health care industry to control prices, eliminate profiteering and excessive salaries. Train so many new doctors that we can cut their pay to 5 figures, etc.
- We all need to vote for a single payer plan like the one Sheila Kuhl proposed for California.
- I think those of us who recognize that a single payor system is the only rational system need to organize and fund a media campaign to get the public on board.
- The US government exists, "of the people,by the people & for the people", it follows that it should create a healthcare plan that provides decent care for the people it exists to serve. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but hasn't Cuba been able to provide healthcare and educate doctors, enough to send out to serve in other countries? Perhaps we should be looking at that program as a model. It would be good to extend loans and loan forgiveness to new doctors and make their service in underserved areas a condition of loan repayment. What an average citizen could do, starting at an early age, follow a type of pledge program, where older children and teens were encouraged to be a healthy weight, and to be active as possible given their personal circumstances.
- New rules to prevent coverage from being dropped, that require insurers to take all that apply, that require coverage of pre-existing conditions, that insurance rates in a plan are determined only by age (and maybe lifestyle choices), and to prevent all other abuses by insurance companies. A subsidy to help low-income Americans afford health insurance. EZ-Form tax deductibility of all medical expenses (get rid of those stupid unworkable Health Savings Accounts). A requirement for everyone to have health insurance. A large, strong public option that competes on a level playing field with private and nonprofit plans.
- Expose the links between the blockers and the lobbyists and use the real names and the real dollars to inform the public of the truth as to why some politicians love the status quo. Take aim at Dick Armey and make it a daily item.
- Their needs to be more public awareness of the role of insurance companies in the health care system. Many people seem to believe the way insurance companies function is in the best interest the public at large.
- I am 61 self-employed and insurance if I could afford it would cost be about $400.00 a month. The system serves, at best, the ones who need the insurance the least.
- Single payer universal coverage, screw the Republicans and blue lap dogs to the wall
- I have no idea of the answers to the above questions and hesitate to even choose wildly - I do know that something must be done!
- We need to reframe the issue. It is not a "Healthcare reform" issue, it is a "Health Insurance reform" issue. Changing a person's healthcare is a scary prospect. Changing their insurance (i.e. how it is paid for) is not as threatening. It also happens to be more truthful. That is what we are trying to reform. Insurance. Get two no-frills basic plans in place, with automatic tax-subsidized coverage of everyone in the USA (includes kids, tourists, undocumented): (1) Checkup Plan: Annual checkup visit for diagnosis/screening/monitoring. (2) Catastrophic Coverage: Limited but guaranteed ER & hospital coverage. Opt out encouraged for people with better employment-based coverage. Med Cost controls. Support more med school places and drop-in (non-hospital) clinics. Ongoing program to analyze and propose incentives and penalties to promote healthy behaviors. E.g. higher cig. taxes, higher smoker premiums, overweight people must buy two airline seats etc. Insurance Administrative Cost controls. End the costly and confusing blizzard of incident-by-incident-actor-by-actor paperwork of statements and bills to patients. Require that statements come just from prime practitioner and prime insurer, and just one consolidated statement each
- Pass HR 676, Single Payer Medicare for All
- Just pass the single payer option, establish a national health service, Medicare for All, cut out any subsidies to the private insurers and let the insurance companies meet the competition or die like the bloodsucking vampires they are.
- Look at what has been done in France, Germany, etc. and do the same
- Insist, like Germany does, that there is a small profit margin allowed for healthcare insurance. no more than,say, 8%. If they can't live with that, go away.
- Single Payer.
- Pass health care reform when Congress reconvenes in September. President Obama needs to do more town hall meetings during August, and the media needs to do more investigative reporting.
- Support single payer health care. We all have to work together to support a health reform plan that insures everyone, competes with private insurance, gets rid of pre existing conditions, ensures that everyone has good health care at reasonable cost.
- assure the public that universal health care will not increase the cost or decrease the quality of health care now provided for the 85% who have health care.
- Obama must propose a single-payer plan; to hell with the GOP and the BlueDogs. And then the House and Senate must deal with Obama's proposal. Accept, weasel around it, confront it, ignore it: and then the onus will be upon Pelosi and Reid. If they can deliver a plan, the onus will THEN be on the GOP and BlueDogs. The media MUST get down to good old INVESTIGATIVE reportage: instead of just airing the lies (especially those attacking other nations' single-payer plans) the media MUST present the reality. And that applies right down the line on every single aspect of this debate. Someone calls Obama a Nazi: the press CANNOT be complacent. Air it with the perspective of the desperation and stupidity of those making the charges - and also interview those making these charges to determine if they're 1) Health Insurance plants (as has been the case) and 2) covered under health insurance plans and 3) how HAPPY they are with their coverage.
- Push for a plan that insures that Retirees Insurance Premiums do not go up from that amount paid upon Retirement . As a Stimulant the Elderly could be refunded the amount of the Increases paid since the Retirement age of 65 or if still working
- at the time of Retirement, be it 67 ,70 , 75 , or older . This would get those over 65 on board for a Single Payer or a Public Option Plan .
- Legalize medical marijuana and make it FREE.
- Demand Public Option, at minimum!
- Simply extend Medicare to all citizens. It is already in place and it is what should have been done in the first palce.
- 1. Realize, tell the truth about, all the current healthcare systems in other industrialized nations whose citizens participate in a democracy and are free. 2. Put out reliable information regarding the amount of profit the insurance and pharmaceutical companies make; compare this to the actual cure or health effectiveness rate for their consumers. Compare the health and cure rates for Americans as opposed to people in other industrialized nations. 3. Make clear the profits that doctors make under all current arrangements, i.e., under Medicare and state-run systems, under HMO's, under private practice where the types of insurance accepted are limited. 4. Show the disparities between the wealthy and all others when it comes to percentage of overall income spent on health care, including prescription and OTC drugs. 5. Publish a government sponsored publication, possibly from the GAO with all this information in an easily accessible and readable format
- Congress should push the limit and pass the most agressive plan possible.
- I like a state based single payer as opposed to a Canandian style national plan- remember CA is almost twice as populus as Canada and 60% the size of Britain. I want a system where the GOV only controls the collection and payment of funds.
- We must have a public option and single payer!!! Enough is enough! Health care is a human right not the right to huge profits by the insurance companies.
- Tax junk food to increse incentives for healthier life choices.
- Congress and the Administration should: - enact and implement MEDICARE FOR ALL PERSONS IN AMERICA. Media should: - stop dispensing information (lies) about proposed health care programs, - stop accepting paid political advertising on proposed health care programs, - provide free forums to discuss the need for reform of the health care system (including education costs and reimbursement of health care professionals)and what those reforms should be. Me: - tell electeds what I want them to do - enact MEDICARE FOR ALL PERSONS IN AMERICA. - promote MEDICARE FOR ALL PERSONS IN AMERICA to my fellow citizen - primary out elected that do not vote for effective health care reform
- Healthcare reform should create a National Single Payer system within a 0-10 year period. This could be done by allowing individuals and/or employers to buy into Medicare or the development of a Public Option.
- pass it!
- The Adminstration should think about what was promised to the American people and figure what to do to keep the promises made as much as possible. Congres should listen to all it's constiutuents not just the few who are talking crazy and above all should think about what peoples need based on facts that they see each and every day regarding people with no health care. The media should stop with the circus of repeating the same thing over and over and over. After awhile if one keeps hearing the same thing you start to believe what you hear if you don't know any better. The media just need to quit with the over exposure and lies. I will continue to be informed as much as I can and share and encourage others to be well informed also. If Government could just do what's right for a change instead of what's best for them politically the country would be is much better place.
- Implement Medicare to lower and lower age groups until all are included.
- Include health care providers who do NOT practice allopathic medicine as primary care providers.
- Expose those obstructionist legislators for what they are. How much in campaign contributions have they received from Big Pharma and the health care industry? Is their stated purpose to block the programs of a Democratic Administration?
- A Single Payer Plan like Canada's would be best, but it is off the table. Therefore, a plan with a STRONG government option would be the next best thing. Perhaps this could lead to a single payer system.
- If one needs emergency medical attention at a Los Angeles County Hospital like Olive View or MLK,( first of all you have to wait between 16 to 24 hours to get care and medicine) you are at the mercy of unionized workers who don't give a fuck about your welfare. Look at the poor Chicana woman who suffered and died on MLK emergency room floor while SEIU Local 660 members sweeped around her and unionized nurses and receptionist laughed and joked while she died. The same thing at Olive View, where unionized County Police refused to pick up medicine which could have save a patients because under their contract they did not have to( by way, the woman at MLK was ARRESTED when she died by those kind Security Guards and no one has been brought to justice. As for the private health care=- we already have DEATH PANELS, they are called insurance companies and HMO. Witness the Kaiser Hospital who refused to grant permission to
- Ideally, a single payer plan should be adopted. In order for this to happen, the Obama Administration needs to show much stronger and more persuasive leadership -- both in working with Congress and in educating the American people. The media has done much harm to the cause by amplifying the negative voices of the fringe conservatives. If the media were to play a responsible role in educating the public it might be possible to get a rational and widely accepted solution.
- Stop letting the opposition (i.e., the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies) define the debate.
- Start demanding that Americans deserve the best healthcare in the world, not the worst!
- The Administration and Congress need to grow a set. The President has been waffling. One thing you could say for Bush was that he took a stand on an issue and, come hell or high water, he stuck to it. Unfortunately, his stands were almost universally bad for the country. Nevertheless, President Obama should take a lesson from him and stand his ground on healthcare. He knows what we need. He must stop equivocating. He must stop the bipartisan nonsense. The Republicans and Blue Dogs work for the bad guys. It's time to stand up to them.
- Forget about the Republicans. They have no intention of negotiating a plan. They are simply being obstructionist. We have already seen the value of Social Security and Medicare. I personally have seen the tremendous my mother received in the finals days of her life from Medicare, and those benefits also mean that I am not in the poor house now.
- The blue dog Democrats need to join with the moderate and liberal Democrats to see that we have a single payer national health care plan. Ok, I will compromise. I will accept a national optional plan. should be separate from employment should have basic care for everyone and supplemtal for everyone who wants to pay for it.
- Develop a single payer system modeled after what we provide to Congress, period!
- Fund the program from surcharged taxes on Insurance Company profits, and on a tax on icomes over $ 250,000 per year per family. Uncover and expose all groups involved in supporting he status quo for insurance and the current medical system, and revoke their tax free status. Expose all Congressmen and Senators who accept funds from Insurance Companies, Oil Companies, and the Pharma Industries.
- I am new to this, but it seems though the 1. full single payer leads to a less democratic role and more socialist role. 2. a public option would effectively contain healthcare costs while reducing the drive of private competition therefore causing the already out of control economy to literally put our Doctors out of business. 3. a weaker public option is not reform 4. a plan to buy insurance through existing private health insurers is business as usual. the 87% of businesses under $500,000 will still not be required to purchase. In other words, the reform is reinforcing the current system which is causing bancruptcy for the majority of the disappearing middle class and thrusted the need for health care reform.
- At the very least, we must have a public option so that everyone is covered. I would prefer a single-payer system, Medicare for all!
- Demand that a single payor and or a not for profit government run health care plan be available for all. Go to town hall meetings,talk ,talk ,talk ,talk to everyone we know about the human cost of for profit existing death pannels called health care providers who only see profit in for their horrible business mkdels they refer to as hmos or health care groups. Get Michael Moore to do another documentary on all of the calims for requests for proceedures and coverage that are denied daily, show another Inglewood project that doesn't even scratch the surface of the need for health care for all. Publish the profits of the health care industry in comparison with the proceedures done to prevent the treatment of the source problem because it is consideres to expensive to treat!
- Phase in a single payer system. Start with negotiating drug prices.
- A program should be put in effect that genuinely aids Americans in the middle and lower classes. We don't need the kind of programs currently being discussed that will merely allow the insurance companies to grow stronger.
- everyone would get medicare and no one would be turned down, but then doctors would fall into the middle class or whats left of it.
- We should be talking to each other explaining exactly what "single payer" means so that common folks understand it.
- Create a single-payer system. Currently the insurance, insurance administration, and medical industries have too many financial conflicts of interest that effects health care. Those conflicts need to be addressed, and a single-payer system would be a critical part of that solution. There must be reform so that decisions by health care providers are not connected to any financial gain.
- prohibit denial of coverage for a pre-existing condition(s), loss of coverage during serious or life threatening illness. WE WON! WE RAISED THE MONEY, WE KNOCKED ON THE DOORS, WE GOT OUT THE VOTE...for WHAT? So that DEMOCRATS would be in charge for the PEOPLE! I certainly didn't work that hard for a spineless white house and congress...that was not my HOPE nor my dream.
- Single payer, single payer, single payer. That said, three other non-medical policies need revision. Currently, U.S. agricultural subsidies (40% of agricultural income) mean that high fructose corn syrup calories are cheaper than calories in carrots, for example. These promote the least healthy foods and agricultural practices. The second health-related public policy that's not explicitly medical is the massive subsidy for sprawl. We build cities whose design requires every single trip of any significance be in an auto. Pedestrians, and cyclists are excluded from most streets, and without pedestrians, transit is a joke. Finally, U.S. chemical companies must prove their products harmless in Europe. Not so here. We're guinea pigs for lots of toxic stuff banned in Europe. We need a comprehensive solution, not just more, or cheaper medical SWAT teams.
- The Administration should continue to press forward with President Obama's Health Care Reform and Congress should support and pass President Obama's plan. After all, I know for sure that the legislators represent people who are affected by health care.
- The media should try reporting fairly on the President's plan, but perhaps the media is not affected by high medical costs. I'll continue to support the President.
- Develop and implement the best healthcare plan, not one that favors or caters to any stakeholder.
- We need to get rid of corruption in "high places" and have a health-care program similar to the one provided in France. My views are reported in: Why Won't Universal Healthcare Be Provided? By Emily Spence. Why Won't Universal Healthcare Be Provided? By Emily Spence. 12 August, 2009. Countercurrents. Upon receipt of a bs degree in biology, an acquaintance ...
- Pass HR 676
- fight for the plan proposed by Conyers and Kucinich...expanding Medicare
- A full single-payer system Medical, Dental and Vision modeled on those found in Canada, Britain, and much of Europe which allows the current doctors, insurance and hospitals to remain in business as subcontracter's but with clearly define locally set benchmarks tied to outcomes.
- First, republicans only intention is to disrupt the procedure of changing Health Care in this Country and should be ignored. The illusion of bipartisan legislation is a lie and they plan to kill it just like they did in 1982 and ride the defeat back to POWER. They have become the Lucy pulling back the football(i.e. Health Care) on Charlie Brown(i.e. Democrats).
- The Obama team should threaten Baucus, Nelson, Conrad, Feingold et al and a few republicans like Grassley with a vigorous campaign to prevent them from being re-elected.
- Push single payer plan through and damn the torpedoes (Republican opposition)
- support HR676 and S703 pass them and sign them into law.
- Contain Malpractice. Study Texas solution. 2. Bring the medical data system into 21st Century --trash paper forms and records --eliminate waiting rooms and their staff with attitude. Minimize use of people --make data systems electronic and on line --provided automated, quicker data sharing --electronic forms and centralized data bases 3. Emphasis on incorporating exponentially advancing technology. Study what Israel is doing. Personal data systems auto linked, telemetered into central medical systems 24 hr/day providing status, esp. emergency conditions. Electronic diagnosis in the home. Treatment, medicine shipped to home. 4. Strict, effective immigration and population growth processes. There are too many people 5. Implement a NON Partisan Expert Panel to guide IMP of a long term medical system focusing on taking advantage of ever improving ADV TECH. Future medical costs can DECREASE!\
- Pass HR 676 and be done with this
- Controls on insurance companies.
- Amend Medicare by removing the age requirement. Repeal the Bush and Reagan tax cuts to pay for it.
- The Administration should stop trying to appease Republicans who have demonstrated absolutely no interest in reform of any kind. They are too dependent on those million dollar campaign donations from those with a vested interest in the status quo. The Adminsitration also needs to remind the "blue Dogs" of what it means to be a Democrat. In Congress, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid need to pass reform with a strong Public Option using any and all parliamentary procedures at their command.
- Personally, I'd like to see the media actually report on the issues instead of using slanted language and phrases (e.g. government run health care)and I'd also like to see the media both TV and print connect the dots from those so-called grassroots protestors to Washington lobbyists so that the public can consider the source.
- Let's get on it. It is our moral responsibility to relieve unnecessary suffering. The wealthy get their money from the rest: it's unacceptable that the poor who are victimized by the rich are treated worse than cattle, since cattle at least get veterinary care.
- The Administration and Congress on both sides of the aisle should participate as statesmen not hyperbolic partisans in finding a viable solution to the health insurance (care) crisis. The media should report factual information and not highlight partisan rhetoric and disinformation. I should attempt, as best I can, to research the information available to come to an informed decision about the realities of the health insurance
- SIngle payer would be the best given the political climate a public option will help in this direction
- I think the MSM coverage of the town hall protesters is largely responsible for the negative mood regarding the Administration's plan for health care reform. There has been no attempt that I have seen by MSM to present facts and inform readers and viewers. We have news presented as yellow journalism. MSM needs to do a more responsible job of presenting facts.
- The Administration has taken far too long to present its position, its plan, and the reasons why Americans should support it. The conservative movement, lobbyists, health care insurers, racists, etc., had enough time to turn the tide from reform that would actually help most people to a watered down version that maintains the status quo. The Administration must get off its duff and try to turn the tide. Congress votes according to polls. Public opinion in support of real health reform must be turned around.jlcochran2002@yahoo