MU national survey: Data IDs top concerns for Americans with health care reform

A new survey released today from Misericordia University and Braun Research finds that two in five Americans plan to spend less this holiday season as a result of rising health care costs. The survey also concluded that the health care reform debate is a cause of stress and annoyance among the majority of Americans and three in ten say health care costs have led to arguments and tension with friends and family members.

In an effort to better understand the current conversations among Americans around health care and health care reform, Misericordia University conducted their first ever Health Care in America Survey.

Click here to download the complete seven-page report and analysis (pdf file).

From issues around health care insurance to the impact of health care debate on individual relationships and budgets and who Americans trust the most for information on health care reform, this survey exposes more than just what people think about health care in America, but how it is affecting individuals in very real ways. The survey was conducted by telephone among more than 1,000 Americans between Nov. 6 and Nov. 16, 2009.

“As we move closer and closer to health care reform legislation in this country, it is paramount that we keep in mind the impact that this process is having on individual Americans,” says Michael MacDowell, Ed.D., president, Misericordia University.

In addition to decreased holiday spending and increased tensions, Americans report that their top concerns with health care reform include the cost to future generations and impact on the federal deficit, the cost of out of pocket expenses and the accessibility of quality coverage. Parents and those who consider their views “conservative” are more likely to be sensitive to the possible negative impacts of health care reform while parents in general remain more concerned than others with quality and access to care.

Additional key findings from the survey include: • Nearly a quarter of Americans admit that they would consider withholding information from an insurance provider if it might limit their ability to access health care. Those who consider their views “very liberal” are more likely than others to withhold information or bend the truth about their family’s’ and their personal medical history. • Families and doctors are the most trusted sources of information for health care reform. • Nearly a quarter of Americans are taking fewer sick days at work. • The recession has pressured Americans to prioritize health care alongside other expenses and many have changed their behavior including dealing with illness without treatment and visiting the doctor less. A third of Americans are concerned about losing their health care insurance and one in ten Americans has been forced to drop their health care insurance. • More than 90 percent of Americans are satisfied with their insurance coverage. However, about 33 percent of Americans do not take advantage of preventive health testing/screenings even when it is available through their current coverage. • The majority of Americans feel either annoyed or frustrated by the current health care debate. While older Americans nearing retirement are following the debate more closely and tend to feel more anger, tension and helplessness.

“We are excited to be able to provide this type of timely information about what Americans are really thinking and feeling about the current health care debate,” says Dr. MacDowell. “As a regional leader in the education of health care professionals as well as business leaders, teachers, and others, health care reform and American attitudes about our health care system are important to the future of our students and to our country.”

About Misericordia University Located in Dallas, Pa. on a suburban campus near the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Misericordia University is a Catholic, coeducational, liberal arts university founded and sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. MU offers 32 majors at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level. Approximately 40 percent of the student population is enrolled in the College of Health Sciences, with majors including nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and medical imaging. Other health related programs include health care informatics, health care management, and geriatric care management. Total enrollment is 2,735 with 1,665 students studying full-time.