Health Team

Poll: Insurers, health care industry blamed for rising costs

Posted March 20, 2012

— A majority of North Carolina residents blame health insurers, hospitals and physicians for the rising cost of health care in the U.S., according to a poll released Tuesday.

The poll, which was sponsored by the North Carolina Dental Society, also found that people were split on the federal mandate that everyone have health coverage.

Public Policy Polling interviewed 508 people statewide March 5-7 for the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percentage points. The results were revealed during the "What the Health: Can We Survive Our Healthcare System?” forum, sponsored by talk show NC SPIN.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said insurance costs were the driving force behind rising health care costs, while 28 percent blamed higher doctor and hospital charges. Fourteen percent put the onus on people's poor lifestyle choices, and 8 percent pointed the finger at prescription drug costs.

On the lifestyle issue, more than a quarter of those surveyed said people's lack of knowledge on how to take better care of themselves leads to chronic problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. Other respondents were fairly evenly split among people not knowing the true cost of health care, being too lazy to practice self-care or not having to pay for their own care as reasons for not leading healthier lifestyles.

When asked whether they knew their own blood pressure, weight, body mass index, blood glucose level and cholesterol level, only 22 percent of those surveyed said they knew all of these key health indicators. Nearly half said they knew all of the figures, while 10 percent said they didn't know any and the rest said they knew one or two figures.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they thought people would improve their lifestyles if they knew they would feel better and live longer, while 27 percent said they would change if they knew their health costs would be lower. Sixteen percent said it would take punitive measures, like higher health costs, to force a lifestyle change.

Although a large chunk of health care costs are tied to end-of-life care, more than a third of respondents said people just don't get around to giving their families directions on how to handle those medical decisions. Another 28 percent said they don't know enough to make such plans, while 16 percent admitted they were in denial and didn't want to think about dying.

As for the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 37 percent of those surveyed said they fear government regulation and control of health care as the law takes effect. Another 22 percent said they fear health costs will continue to increase under the reform law, while 14 percent said they expect the quality of care to drop and 9 percent said they fear having less access to care.

Under the reform law, everyone is required to have health coverage by 2014. Forty-three percent of respondents said they feel the so-called individual mandate is necessary, while 28 percent said having insurance should be a personal decision and 20 percent believe this portion of the reform law is unconstitutional.


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  • TAKES_TO2_TANGO Mar 21, 2012

    wmp8396....I do know people in Canada and all of them seem to love the way their healthcare system is working for them.

  • TAKES_TO2_TANGO Mar 21, 2012

    "All while Obama slashes military healthcare and raised premiums & copays for military retirees."

    Good, less of my tax money.

    Wow! Don't wanna even pry your wallet open for people who faught and were willing to die for you and this country you live in. Wow, our country really is in the sand

  • TAKES_TO2_TANGO Mar 21, 2012

    Any of you that do not think we should have free healthcare for everyone needs to watch SICKO. What is our country coming to if we spend more time trying to help people overseas and turning the other check to our own problems at home?

  • redrubberball1 Mar 21, 2012

    67% of Americans want Obamacare repealed. I am one of them.

  • redrubberball1 Mar 21, 2012

    I don't think any of us will be well served by a govt. takeover of our healthcare. Actually, just the opposite will occur. What we really need badly is for the entire healthcare industry to have to compete to drive down costs.

  • wmp8396 Mar 21, 2012

    I find humor in the comments which suggest socialized health care is so good and desirable in many other countries, such as Canada and Great Britain. These are likely from people who don't have friends in both of these places. I worked with people from around the world for ten years, many from the UK and Canada. Seems they beg to differ, greatly with the socialized medicine is 'the best' mantra. Quite the opposite actually---as they worked overtime to move to the USA for what---primarily our health care delivery system. My UK friends would often share stories where people had to wait months for just an appointment--and if they needed non-life threatening surgery, again, months on end to have the surgery. Months, not weeks. Health care is rationed there--so if you just so happen to discover your disease/injury whatever at the end of the budget cycle, too bad--wait. No, Obamacare, i.e. socialized medicine will greatly diminish your health care delivery system.

  • Alex25 Mar 20, 2012

    Get THEE Govt out of and away from Hcare. Now. Today.

  • esteryates69 Mar 20, 2012

    It a shame the elderly,have to suffer go with out being able to go to doctors,can get the much need medications,have surgery,they need,hospital copay can not afford.After 53 years years both of us working,good jobs,plan and saved for retirement,recession high cost of ever thing,our money is gone.The old people throw to curb and they just hoping they died

  • atozca Mar 20, 2012

    "Just about every industrialized nation on earth has universal healthcare. They pay less than we do in the US and are healthier." billo

    lol, tell that to the Canadians who are coming here because they can't get the healthcare they need in their own country. I can't believe that you are so snowed.

  • Pseudonym Mar 20, 2012

    When you pay a $20 copay without knowing whether the doctor bills your insurance company $20, $200, or $2,000, you are also part of the problem. Start shopping around for your doctors and then INSIST on keeping costs low. You WILL pay the cost in higher premiums.