The Public View of Health Care Reform
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, put into action far-reaching legislation designed to reduce costs, streamline the care network, and increase accessibility and availability of health care in the U.S.
In the intervening months, the law and its individual provisions have generated considerable controversy and public discourse, as evidenced in the 2010 national elections, ongoing congressional debates, and court challenges seeking to overturn various aspects of the new law.
Innovations inherent in the ACA are premised upon a more informed and involved consumer. In its 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that Americans have very strong opinions about health care reform, what they want to see from the new law, and how it affects them.
This Issue Brief examines consumers' understanding and expectations regarding the U.S. health care system and various aspects of reform. Among survey findings:
- U.S. consumers perceive a complex, wasteful health care system, sensing a lack of value for what is spent.
- Consumers are critical of U.S. health care system performance: 22 percent give it a favorable report card grade of “A” or “B” while 36 percent of consumers give it a grade of “D” or “F”.
- Consumers have mixed feelings about health care reform. Nearly half are optimistic about reform and think it will increase access to insurance and care.
- 49 percent believe that the new health care reform law is a good start, but 3 in 10 consumers say it is a step in the wrong direction.
- Reform implementation will take time: Many respondents say its full benefits will not be felt for at least five years; a substantial portion remains skeptical that reform will ever have much of an impact.
- Consumers are almost evenly split on whether the government should require individuals to have health insurance coverage.
- Consumers' views of reform are tempered by concerns about privacy and security of personal health care information.