Posts Tagged ‘Gallup Poll’

Half of Americans Support Obamacare Repeal

Monday, November 28th, 2011

A recent Gallup poll found that 47 percent of Americans support the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), compared with the 42 percent who want the law kept in place.  The remaining 11 percent offered no opinion.  In an ironic twist, the survey also determined that half of Americans believe the federal government has a responsibility to make certain that all citizens have healthcare coverage, compared with 46 percent who do not.

“Views on this issue are highly partisan, with Republicans strongly in favor of repeal and the large majority of Democrats wanting the law kept in place,” according to Gallup.

Republicans claim that the healthcare law is unconstitutional because of the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance.  Approximately eight in 10 Republicans think Congress should repeal the healthcare law, including 54 percent who want the entire law thrown out.  Democrats have an opposing view: 60 percent support keeping the healthcare law as is.  Independents are split.

Fully 80 percent of Republicans support repeal, while a mere 10 percent support the law.  Democrats, not surprisingly support the healthcare law by 64 – 21 percent.  The intensity of the issue on both sides is also striking.  Among those who favor repeal of the so-called Obamacare, 66 percent say it is a “very important” issue.  Fully 60 percent of the ACA’s supporters described it is a “very important” issue.

Another finding of the survey is that 56 percent of respondents prefer an insurance system run by private companies; while 39 percent prefer a government-run system.

Writing for CBS News, Jennifer De Pinto says that “Even though overall support for the healthcare law is mixed, majorities have favored some individual elements of the law, including requiring health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26.  However, the provision that requires all Americans get health insurance is not as popular.  A CNN/ORC Poll conducted this past summer found 54 percent of Americans oppose that provision.”

In a poll taken by the Kaiser Foundation, 34 percent said they view the law either “very” (12 percent) or “somewhat” (22 percent) favorably while 51 percent saw it in either as “somewhat” (20 percent) or “very” (31 percent) unfavorably.  In April 2010, the favorable view of the law was 50 percent only one time (July 2010).  With the exception of the October dip, support has generally been between 39 and 43 percent since the start of this year.  Even as the overall bill remains consistently unpopular, parts of it — including the individual mandate, which would require all Americans to carry health insurance — are viewed more positively.

Even if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA or it is repealed, President Barack Obama said that the healthcare law he signed in 2010 represents “a reform that will finally make sure that nobody goes bankrupt in America just because they get sick.”  Obama said the law assures coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions and is the kind of change he promised during the 2008 presidential campaign.  “Everything we fought for in the last election is now at stake in the next election,” Obama said.  “The very core of what this country stands for is on the line.”

Employer-Susidized Healthcare Insurance at a New Low

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Fewer than half of  America employers - just 44.5 percent in the 3rd quarter, a decline of more than five percent in three years, — contribute to their employees’ healthcare coverage, according to a Gallup and Healthways Inc., poll.  The firms, which surveyed more than 90,000 adults, blamed the decline on high unemployment, under-employment and an increased number of employers who do not offer health insurance to their workers.

Employer-sponsored health insurance is one of the pillars of the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.  Unfortunately, companies have scaled back benefits and raised employee charges to cope with fast-rising healthcare costs and anemic economic growth.  The latest figure was 5.3 percent below the 2008 high of 49.8 percent, when the companies began tracking trends in employer-sponsored health insurance.  “The health insurance system in the United States is experiencing numerous changes.  Governments and businesses have and will continue to cut back and/or reform their health coverage offerings,” according to the pollsters.

There was also an increase in the ranks of those covered by government plans from Medicaid, Medicare and military programs, which was up 2.2 percentage points since 2008 at 25.1 percent but off a 2010 high of 25.7 percent.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 41 million uninsured American adults and 24 million adults under retirement age receiving the Medicaid program for low-income people and other public insurance plans last year.  Medicare covers an estimated 48 million beneficiaries.  The survey found higher levels of health insurance coverage among young people aged 18 to 26, which the pollsters attributed to a provision of the ACA that allows parents to cover grown children under their insurance plans.  Other portions of the law, including tax credits for small businesses, did not appear help those aged 25 to 64, whose uninsured ranks increased.

One large employer cutting back on healthcare coverage is Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer.  Citing rising costs, the retailer told its employees that all future part-time employees who work less than 24 hours a week will no longer be eligible for any of the company’s health insurance plans.  Additionally, new employees who average 24 hours to 33 hours a week will no longer be able to include a husband or wife as part of their healthcare plan, although children can still be covered.  This is a massive shift from a few years ago when Wal-Mart expanded coverage after being criticized because so many of its 1.4 million workers could not afford or did not qualify for coverage — sending many of them to Medicaid.

“Over the last few years, we’ve all seen our healthcare rates increase and it’s probably not a surprise that this year will be no different,” said Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman.  “We made the difficult decision to raise rates that will affect our associates’ medical costs.  The decisions made were not easy, but they strike a balance between managing costs and providing quality care and coverage.”

There’s also some good news on the employer-subsidized healthcare front. Nearly 75 percent of medium-to-large employers plan will continue to offer their workers health insurance once the major provisions of the ACA take effect, according to a survey by consulting firm Towers Watson.  According to the survey of 368 mid-to- large-sized companies, 71 percent plan to continue to offer healthcare benefits to their employees through 2014, the year that everyone will be required to have health insurance and state-based health insurance exchanges will kick off.  Approximately one-third of the companies are not certain if they will continue offering insurance, or, if they stopped providing insurance, whether they would compensate employees by offering pay raises.

“With so much still unknown regarding both the short- and long-term impact of healthcare reform, most employers will not make wholesale changes to employer-sponsored health plans in 2012,” said Ron Fontanetta, senior healthcare consulting leader at Towers Watson.

Michael Lee Stallard and Jason Pankau on Happiness in the Workplace

Monday, January 31st, 2011

“The life you live trains you for the life you’re going to lead.”  This is the opinion of Michael Lee Stallard and Jason Pankau, partners in E Pluribus Partners, the world’s leading experts on how rational and emotional connections can boost productivity, innovation and organizational performance in the workplace.

In a recent interview for the Alter+Care Inspire Podcasts, Stallard and Pankau cited a Gallup Poll that ranked 132 countries in terms of happiness.  The United States ranked 12th, which was lower than the Scandinavian nations of Denmark and Finland and even Costa Rica.  According to Stallard and Pankau, “If you look at what’s happening, people are working longer and harder days.  We spend the bulk of our waking lives in certain kinds of relational environments – this has an enormous impact on our happiness and ability to connect with others.”

Using a number of systems, including humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Stallard and Pankau have created a list of six universal human needs that people want to experience in the workplace.  They include:

  • Respect – When we are with people who are condescending, patronizing, passive-aggressive or who look down on us in some relational way, there is a negative emotional impact.  No one can thrive in that kind of environment, because humans need a basic level of respect in the workplace.
  • Recognition – We rely on the interactions of people around us to recharge our internal batteries.  Authentic, positive affirmation – not false – is the most effective.  Otherwise, employees are drained of energy.
  • Sense of belonging – Everyone needs people who have our backs and who are trustworthy.  These people help us live up to the values that we aspire to, support us and are with us through the ups and downs of life.
  • Autonomy – This gives us the freedom and flexibility to do our work free of bureaucratic red tape and without the presence of over-controlling personalities.  Autonomy allows us to master our tasks and assists with personal growth.
  • A challenging environment – When people are over challenged, they are stressed; conversely, people are bored when they are not challenged.  When work provides the right degree of challenge, people are so immersed in the task at hand that time flies and it is energizing.
  • Need for meaning – People typically derive meaning from work that is consistent with a mission that is important to them.  Additionally, they find meaning in the relational connections they have in the workplace; this provides a connection with their personal life.

Leading hospitals across the country recognize the need to create connections between management, physicians, nurses, staff, patients and – importantly – their families, because it positively impacts the quality of care and medical outcomes.  A primary proponent of fostering connections in healthcare environments is Herb Pardes, M.D., a psychiatrist who is president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System.  Other hospitals that are proactively creating workplace connections are the Yale New Haven Health System and the Cleveland Clinic.  To sign up for Michael Lee Stallard’s and Jason Pankau’s newsletter and receive a free digital download of their book, click here.

To listen to Michael Lee Stallard’s and Jason Pankau’s full interview on happiness in the workplace, click here.

 
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