Poll: Three-Quarters Of Public Want Government Action On Health Costs

Political leaders in Massachusetts say controlling health care costs is a top priority and they are working on plans to tackle the problem. But what does the public think? A poll out today has the first comprehensive look at public opinion on health care costs since the state passed the 2006 health coverage law. The full report is out here.

Harvard pollster Robert Blendon

Pollster Bob Blendon, of Harvard’s Kennedy School and the Harvard School of Public Health, spoke to WBUR’s Martha Bebinger about this survey of 1002 Massachusetts residents. The poll was funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

BEBINGER: Respondents say the high cost of health care is either a crisis (25%) or a major problem (53%). Why does the public say health care costs are too high?

BLENDON: The main reasons were excessive charges by pharmaceutical firms, hospitals and insurers. There was less concern about the things experts always talk about: using too much high cost technology, going to expensive teaching hospitals or not shopping for care. The big takeaway here is that 74% of respondents want the state to take action.

BEBINGER: But 51% of respondents have little or no confidence in state government to lower health care costs even though they want the state to take action? What kind of opening does this create for State House leaders? Continue reading