Survey Reveals Surprising Results, Attitudes Toward America's Health Care Crisis

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The state where voters have the first say in U.S. presidential primaries has also weighed in on a critical 2008 campaign issue: health care. According to a survey conducted by a national, nonpartisan citizens' group, a solid majority of Iowa voters agree the current health care system is broken-and they don't trust politicians to fix it.

Those surveyed also believe health care services should stress disease prevention over high-technology cures, more public accountability is needed in how health care dollars are spent, and "basic" health services should include access to any licensed health care professional. And while the survey results revealed no solid consensus among voters on how to pay for services, they also indicated no strong preferences for either government run health care or personal responsibility, leaning instead for shared responsibility.

CodeBlueNow!, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, citizen organization formed to build public consensus and find common ground on health care reform, hired The Gilmore Research Group, a Northwest market research firm, to conduct the survey, known as the CodeBlueNow! Pulse. This CodeBlueNow! Pulse focused on key principles and core values that could form the foundation for a new health care system.

While the Iowan respondents identified key elements they would like to see in the health care system, they have little confidence in the very groups that have the power to change the system. Only 22 percent said they would trust the federal government to fix the system, and only 12 percent thought the Presidential election would help chart a new vision for health care in the U.S.

When it comes to the candidates' proposals, respondents thought the Democrats had the most meaningful plans (38 percent). Just 15 percent said Republican candidates have the best proposals, and 29 percent chose to remain neutral regarding health care plans provided by either party. When asked how they vote, 28 percent indicated they were independent or their vote varied.

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When asked who should be in charge of designing a new system, a majority of Iowans surveyed said they would pick health care professionals and non- profit organizations before choosing business professionals, federal government, or academic institutions. A resounding 65 percent of respondents said they would support a non-partisan, non-profit civic organization composed of regular citizens.

"The people of Iowa have spoken-they want accountability, choice, and are open to a range of options on how to pay for health care," said former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, and a CodeBlueNow! Honorary Board member.

"It is very exciting to see the lack of polarization in these survey findings," says Kathleen O'Connor, Founder and CEO of CodeBlueNow! "We must move past the failed health care debate of socialized medicine versus the marketplace. It's clear Iowans have. It is also clear from their own voices how deeply they want fairness for the vulnerable-children and seniors."

According to O'Connor, the CodeBlueNow! Pulse sets the survey data from Iowa voters as a baseline that can be tested across the country. "The American people are smart enough to work together to solve this problem," she added. "We the people need to tell the candidates what is important in creating a health care system that works for us, not against us."

CodeBlueNow! Pulse findings will be used to develop a template that compares Iowan views with those of the presidential candidates' health care proposals, and ultimately provides a national public platform to advance discussion on national health care reform.

Among the survey highlights:

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