Survey Says: It’s Time for “We the People” To Save Health Care for All
The American Health Care Act. The Better Care Reconciliation Act. Skinny Repeal. Graham-Cassidy. The 115th Congress has attempted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act so many times this year, it’s hard to keep up–even for those of us in the field. In today’s political climate, it’s easy to blame elected officials for the uncertain future of our most vital Federal health programs. But as I reflect on the last eight months and the ongoing health care debate, I see a truth that’s harder to swallow.
“We the people” can no longer afford to leave the fate of government-funded health care in Congress’ hands.
As a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) contractor, it’s StrategicHealthSolutions’ responsibility to make sure the health care safety net is there for future generations by preventing fraud and abuse. For instance, nearly $90 billion is spent on improper payments for Medicare and Medicaid – payments for services that are unnecessary, billed improperly, or fraudulently rendered.1 Add in the fact that these programs currently make up 25 % of the total Federal budget2, and one might wrongly assume that the biggest challenge in sustaining health care is simply convincing Congress to do its job and pass reforms or close loopholes. They’d be wrong.
At the height of the health care debate this summer, StrategicHealthSolutions and W53, a marketing research consultancy, surveyed 700 health care professionals and consumers to understand their views on the state of government-funded health care today. While some of the results weren’t surprising – for example, 80% of those surveyed said federal and state elected officials hold the greatest responsibility for preserving Medicare and Medicaid – other stats revealed a changing tide. More than half felt they had a personal responsibility to help, and better yet, they’re willing to step in where Congress cannot.
Health care professionals were willing to encourage their patients to participate in wellness programs (83%), and to complete educational activities for themselves and their staff (66%), to help keep costs of Medicare and Medicaid down. Consumers said they would be willing to comply with doctor’s orders to avoid worsening their health (72%), be open to using tools to calculate costs (63%), and participate in wellness programs to more proactively manage their health (63%).
As someone who has been on all sides of the health care system, this is the paradigm shift I’ve been working toward—away from blaming our officials and elected representatives, and begin doing what Congress cannot: fixing the system through action, not arguments.
Of all the data points in our research, this one is my favorite: nearly 70% of health care professionals and consumers say access to affordable health care for all is a right, not a privilege.
That’s important, because while many may not approve of the direction health care is headed today or tomorrow, we can at least agree that all have a role to play in safeguarding it for future generations. Because it’s our right. And it’s one we must fight for, perhaps now more than ever.
Are you ready to help solve our nation’s biggest health care challenge?
Share your insights. Create change. #RedefineHealthCare
About the author:
Margaret “Peg” Stessman is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and owner of StrategicHealthSolutions, LLC (Strategic). She is also Chairwoman of Strategic’s Board of Directors. As the owner of Strategic, Stessman is part of the elite one percent of women that own large businesses. Stessman is a Board member at the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business, Audit Chair and Board member for Access Bank, Board member for ALCO, and Board member for University of Iowa Athletic Club. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Nebraska Nurses Association, Women Impacting Public Policy, and National Association of Women Business Owners.
1 U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2015). Reducing Government-wide Improper Payments. Retrieved on October 12, 2017, from https://www.gao.gov/key_issues/reducing_government-wide_improper_payments/issue_summary2
2 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2017). The Facts on Medicare Spending and Financing. Retrieved on October 12, 2017, from http://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/the-facts-on-medicare-spending-and-financing/
3 W5 & StrategicHealthSolutions. (2017. July) Medicare and Medicaid Perceptions: Understanding Perceptions of Government-Funded Health care Sustainability