Most Americans believe healthcare reform myths

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Indianapolis, Indiana - My, you're a paranoid lot. A survey has found that more than half of Americans believe myths about healthcare reform, including plans for 'death panels'.


The survey was carried out by researchers from Indiana University Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research (CHPPR) and the Indiana University Center for Bioethics, and indicates that the White House may be losing the war over reform.


"A surprisingly large proportion of Americans believe what the White House has dubbed 'myths' about health care reform," said CHPPR director Aaron Carroll. "Ironically, we found that the least believed myths, such as those related to mandatory end-of-life decisions and euthanasia counseling, are those that have gained the most traction in the media and have resulted in changes to the House bill."


A random sample of 600 Americans - admittedly not huge - was asked 19 questions about their personal beliefs concerning health insurance reform assertions. Most - especially Republicans - believed them all to be true.


Two thirds believed that wait times for services such as surgery will increase, and about six out of 10 thought that taxpayers would have to pay for abortions. Forty-eight percent believed that all illegal immigrants would automatically get coverage.


Thirty percent believed that the government would require the elderly to make decisions about how and when they will die – the so-called 'death panels' that have received so much media attention.


And for some extraordinary reason, 29 percent of respondents believed that private insurance coverage would be eliminated, and a third thought employer-sponsored health insurance coverage would too.


"If the White House hopes to convince the majority of Americans that they are misinformed about health care reform, there is much work to be done," said Dr Carroll. Perhaps a little more education about how national health services work (very well, since you ask) in those countries that have one.


The full report is here.