March 3, 2012

Public likes Medicare better than private fee for service

Mark Blumenthal, National Journal, 2011 -Americans "are deathly afraid that a government takeover will lower their quality of care." So writes Republican pollster Frank Luntz in a widely circulated set of talking points on how to stop a "government takeover" of health care.

Yet in summing up recent survey results, the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly and Jon Cohen write that poll questions "that equate the public option approach with the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system tend to get high approval, as do ones that emphasize the prospect of more choices."

Indeed, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found 62 percent of Americans expressing support for "having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans." Other pollsters describing the public option as "government administered" and "similar to Medicare" gauged even more positive reactions: 67 percent in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in April and 72 percent in the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll....

According to a national CAHPS survey conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2007, 56 percent of enrollees in traditional fee-for-service Medicare give their "health plan" a rating of 9 or 10 on a 0-10 scale. Similarly, 60 percent of seniors enrolled in Medicare Managed Care rated their plans a 9 or 10. But according to the CAHPS surveys compiled by HHS, only 40 percent of Americans enrolled in private health insurance gave their plans a 9 or 10 rating.