Western New York Have an Unfavorable Opinion

Western New York Consumers and Employers Have an Unfavorable Opinion about U.S. Health Care Reform

Health care insurers remain a preferred channel for health care information and continue to be seen as the party most responsible for “fixing” health care

BUFFALO, N.Y., (March 23, 2011) – Western New York consumers and employers have a mostly unfavorable opinion of comprehensive health care reform legislation one year after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. A recent survey shows only 44.1 percent of consumers have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the new law and changes made to it by subsequent legislation. Only 31.8 percent of employers view it very or somewhat favorably.

In addition, only 27.0 percent of consumers said they understand how health care reform will impact them personally, with 35.7 percent of employers saying they don’t understand how it will impact their business.
The findings were part of a recent survey on health care opinions among Western New York consumers and employers conducted by DSS Research and sponsored by Independent Health.
Other key findings include:

  • Health plans/insurers continue to bear the responsibility for “fixing” health care according to 65.9 percent of consumers and 65.8 percent of employers; followed by the government (63.9 percent of consumers and 58.3 percent of employers), and pharmaceutical companies (49.7 percent of consumers and 47.3 percent of employers).
  • Newspapers and magazines are viewed as the preferred channel for health care reform information by 47.1 percent of consumers and 38.6 percent of employers; followed by health plans/insurers (40.9 percent of consumers and 57.4 percent of employers), and government websites (40.4 percent of consumers and 38.2 percent of employers).
  • Unhealthy lifestyles are seen as having the most significant impact on rising health care costs by 75.1 percent of consumers and 75.9 percent of employers; followed by prescription drugs (72.3 percent of members and 79.5 percent of employers), and liability and litigation (67.4 percent of members and 71.4 percent of employers).
  • 35.9 percent of consumers feel the quality of health care will get worse as the result of health care reform and 57.4 percent feel the cost of health care will increase as the result.
  • 35.7 percent of employers feel the quality of health care will get worse as the result of health care reform and 71.6 percent feel the cost of health care will increase as the result.

“The one-year anniversary finds individuals and businesses uncertain and somewhat skeptical about how health reform legislation will impact them, and they are increasingly looking for more information and innovative solutions to transform health care and bend the trend on costs,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health.

“While national reform efforts provide an important framework to help reshape health care, the most sustainable solutions will continue to take place at the local level. Independent Health remains committed to educating and engaging key stakeholders and the entire local population in efforts to establish Western New York as a high-quality, high-performing health care community.

“We continue to provide employers and our members with health and wellness activities and products and services that empower and reward individuals who take greater ownership in maintaining and improving their own health. Independent Health is also focused on preventive care, wellness and the early diagnosis of symptoms that move treatment further ‘upstream’ along the continuum of care.

“By collaborating with providers, adhering to best practices and evidence-based medicine, and rewarding quality outcomes, rather than volume, we are able to address increasing cost trends. We continue to advance our Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) initiative, and we are partnering with both major health systems to reduce hospital readmissions for patients with chronic conditions and other complex medical problems as they transition from inpatient to home care,” said Dr. Cropp.

The survey included 1,495 online interviews with consumers and 361 internet interviews with employers in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties conducted by DSS, with the data weighted to better represent the local population and distribution of employer groups. The interviews were conducted from Dec. 9, 2010 through Jan. 7, 2011, and analyzed and first reported to Independent Health in Feb. 2011.

DSS Research is a national marketing research firm specializing in health care. Over the past 27 years, DSS has conducted research and provided insight for health insurance organizations, hospitals and other health care providers across the country. The firm’s services include product development services, satisfaction research, brand analysis and strategy research, ad testing and tracking, market segmentation research and health risk assessment, giving DSS a high-level view of the evolving health insurance business. DSS employs more than 200 health care market research specialists. More information is available at www.dssresearch.com.

NOTE: All results are subject to a sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone and a scientific sample. The sampling error for the 1,495 consumer sample is 2.5 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval. Thus if 50 percent of Western New York consumers favored a particular policy, one would be 95 percent confident that interval of 47.5 to 52.5 percent contained the true figure had all Western New York consumers been interviewed. The sampling error for the 361 employer sample is 5.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval. Thus if 50 percent of Western New York employers favored a particular policy, one would be 95 percent confident that interval of 44.9 to 55.1 percent contained the true figure had all Western New York employers been interviewed.