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AMERICANS PREFER PRIVATE SECTOR APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE PROBLEM-SOLVING

AMERICANS PREFER PRIVATE SECTOR APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE PROBLEM-SOLVING
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans clearly prefer a private sector approach to solving the nation's health care problems, according to a new national survey released today. The survey, conducted by the polling firm of Mellman & Lazarus, also found that any proposed changes will be judged by the public against four key criteria; increased access, reduced cost, maintaining quality and maintaining choice.
 Nine out of ten Americans want improvements made to the existing system. Although they are uncertain about what specific changes should be made in health care, they doubt that a government-run program will meet the four criteria. For example, when asked to choose among a "Canadian"-style health plan, a "play or pay" approach, or a basic private sector reform package, they overwhelmingly prefer the private sector approach. Nearly six in ten (59 percent) prefer the private sector option -- to reform the system we now have, while making health insurance coverage available to all, eliminating unnecessary tests and expense procedures and making it harder for lawyers to sue doctors.
 Increased access to care is clearly a priority: 56 percent say that "making sure all Americans have access to health care" is one of their two most important considerations when contemplating reform. Reducing costs is also a top priority for 45 percent of those surveyed; and "making sure the quality of health care you and your family receive is the best it can be" is the pre-eminent concern for 41 percent of Americans. About one in four of those polled say that "being able to choose the doctor or hospital you want" is one of the most important considerations.
 Thirty-seven percent believe that a government-run national health insurance plan would cost them more personally, whereas only 22 percent see themselves paying less for care under such a plan. And while 36 percent believe that "The health insurance crisis is so bad that it is time for the government to take over," a plurality of 49 percent believe the opposite: "As bad as the health crisis is, if government gets involved things will only get worse."
 Aetna Life & Casualty Group Executive Edmund F. Kelly, whose company commissioned the survey, said it shows "while Americans clearly want -- and Aetna supports -- significant improvements in our health care system, equally clearly there is great support for benefits unique to America's current private/public system." Kelly added: "The survey demonstrates that as our national leaders attempt to reform health care, they must focus on what needs to be changed -- expanded access and lowered cost -- while protecting quality and choice."
 -0- 1/13/92
 /CONTACT: Laurie Sullivan of Aetna, 202-223-2821, or Thomas G. Goodwin of Powell Tate, 202-347-6633, for Aetna/ CO: Aetna Life & Casualty ST: District of Columbia IN: INS SU:


JT-PS -- NY007 -- 8889 01/13/92 02:00 EST
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Date:Jan 13, 1992
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