Public Views Wellness as Key to Reform Even if Wellness is Not on the Radar of Such Efforts

Well just as I blogged that we Americans need to take care of ourselves comes a poll that would suggest people agree. A new poll suggests that the public views wellness as a key to health care reform. However agreeing to take better care of yourself and actually doing it are two different things. While the following poll seems to support prevention it really does not address the individual’s role in it.

Trust for America”s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a public opinion survey that finds that 71 percent of Americans favor an increased investment in disease prevention and that disease prevention is one of the most popular components of health reform. Disease prevention receives majority support from across the political spectrum (85 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Republicans, and 68 percent of Independents) and across the country (72 percent in the Northeast, 73 percent in the South, 71 percent in the West, and 69 percent in the Midwest).

People also think prevention will save money rather than cost money. Prevention was the second highest proposal tested, after prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage because of age, medical history, or pre-existing conditions.

58 percent of Americans favor a proposal to create a National Prevention and Wellness Strategy to coordinate efforts by assessing the health of our country, establishing priorities, and setting health goals.

The poll, which reflects the responses from 1,008 registered voters, was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies from November 2 to 5, 2009. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent.

Someone should devise a poll gauging individual health behaviors and how they intend to change them. All this poll seems to indicate is that their should be some “body” that establishes and dictates actions but does not even hint as to whether the public would actually follow any recommendations put forth.

And anyway none of this is being addressed in “reform.” Reform in its current state is nothing more than the granting of access to the system. It does not necessarily mean lower costs or that you will get into the system in a timely fashion and have a good experience. And it still gives insurers the option to deny coverage as they scrutinize care. So please just call it what it is – granting access to people who are uninsured – nothing more. Yes it is morally correct but it in no way reforms healthcare.