President Bush’s forthcoming State of the Union address will most likely offer no practical solutions to address America’s burgeoning health care woes. That’s too bad because the public is definitely ready for action on this front. Consider these recent data from Gallup.
A mid-November Gallup poll found that the public is more dissatisfied than ever with out-of-control health care costs. An overwhelming 81 percent said they are dissatisfied with the cost of health care in this country, the highest figure recorded on this question since Gallup first started asking it in 2001.
Yet as dissatisfied as Americans are with health care costs, the public now sees access to health care as an even bigger problem than health care costs. In an open-ended question on America’s biggest health care problem, access was named by 30 percent of respondents, compared with 26 percent who said costs. This reverses the relationship that Gallup found in a November 2006 poll.
Americans are definitely ready for the government to play a significant role in solving these health care problems. In the same mid-November Gallup poll, 64 percent of respondents said that it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, compared with only 33 percent who do not.
Americans are clearly ready for action on the health care front. Now all they need is politicians who feel the same way.