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Americans Don't Believe Government Should Pay for Health Insurance

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Kim Shores
Americans Don't Believe Government Should Pay for Health Insurance
Americans Don't Believe Government Should Pay for Health Insurance

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has already served to change many of the ways in which Americans view the concept of health insurance. However, the emerging opinions on the topic are still relatively opposed to those in the rest of the world, and the reasons why remain quite interesting.

Today, just 37 percent of Americans say that they think it's the government's responsibility to provide health insurance coverage to consumers, according to a report from CNBC based on a poll conducted for it by the market research firm Penn Schoen Berland. Interestingly, that stood as the largest single answer provided by respondents, but another 50 percent (combined) replied that they felt either individuals or corporations should be in charge of such endeavors.

However, that 37 percent is well below the worldwide average among residents of other developed and emerging countries, the report said. In all, 72 percent of people in nations with growing economies felt government should cover health insurance costs, while 65 percent of those in already-developed nations felt the same way.

What does this say about Americans?
Further, it should be noted that consumers' opinions about who should pay for their health insurance came as little shock to experts, the report said. Drew Altman, the president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC that people tend to believe in the systems they have in place already; countries where health care is provided socially will think that's a solid method, because it's working for them, and likely has been for a long time. Meanwhile, in a large number of cases, people in the U.S. are just recently becoming accustomed to government assistance for health insurance, which is likewise going to color their opinions that this could potentially be problematic down the road.

That may be why nearly 60 percent of those polled in the U.S. said that corporations play a "very positive" role in paying for health care, compared to only about 5 percent who felt that a corporation's place in the system was either "very" or "somewhat" negative.

Health insurers will therefore want to keep a close eye on public opinion in this regard, because how people feel about the way they get health insurance could have a major impact on their buying decisions going forward. That, in turn, will likely have a huge effect on policy providers' bottom lines.

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