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POLL SHOWS PUBLIC WANTS HEALTH-CARE REFORM, BUT REJECTS HEALTHRIGHT'S STATE BUREAUCRACY AND CONTROL

POLL SHOWS PUBLIC WANTS HEALTH-CARE REFORM, BUT REJECTS HEALTHRIGHT'S
 STATE BUREAUCRACY AND CONTROL
 MINNEAPOLIS, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesotans want reform of the health-care delivery system, but they don't want the state mandating the direction of that change -- such as establishing spending limits or limiting use of new equipment and technology -- according to a poll released today by two Twin Cities-based hospital groups.
 The poll, conducted by Project Research Inc., of Minneapolis, was based on telephone interviews with 500 households, made between March 27 and April 1. The poll was commissioned by the Minnesota Hospital Association, which represents 158 hospitals statewide, and the Council of Hospital Corporations, which represents 24 hospitals in the seven- county metro area.
 According to the poll, 85 percent of those responding believe it is important that Minnesota's current health-care system be reformed, and 76 percent of those polled believe the state should enact programs that make health-care coverage available to the uninsured. But the poll showed that large majorities of Minnesotans oppose the cost-containment provisions of the legislature's HealthRight bill.
 By a margin of 74-20 percent, poll respondents said they oppose having state government decide which services and equipment each facility may provide.
 By a margin of 64-30, those polled said they oppose state government limiting technology and equipment available for patient care.
 And by a margin of 49-38, respondents said they oppose having state government set limits on how much will be spent on health care in Minnesota.
 Hospital association representatives said the public opinion poll shows clearly that Minnesotans want hospitals and doctors determining appropriate levels of health care, not politicians and their appointees.
 "The public wants to keep local control of health care. They don't want to have long delays for treatment, or have long travels to receive medical care, as they do in Canada," said Larry Schulz, CEO of District One Hospital in Faribault, Minn. Schulz is a leader in the Coalition for Rural Health Care, which has been working to amend HealthRight.
 Tim Hanson, CEO of HealthEast hospitals in St. Paul, Minn., chairman of CHC and a member of the MHA board, said the solution to controlling rising health-care costs is not increased regulation, but instead to encourage more collaboration between hospitals, physicians and insurance companies.
 "Our poll indicates that, by a margin of 63 percent to 26 percent, the public supports allowing small businesses to purchase lower-cost insurance for their employees, which does not offer all the current state-mandated benefits," said Hanson, "and that 96 percent of those polled support allowing hospitals and physicians to share equipment and work together." Hanson said that for a long time, hospitals have wanted exemptions from state and federal anti-trust regulations to prevent more sharing and cost controls.
 "Hospitals hear the public loud and clear -- they want change from the status quo, but they don't want the state government dictating that change," said Allan Johnson, president of the Council of Hospital Corporations. "Our meetings with legislators the past few days have been encouraging, along the same lines as these poll results, and we hope to continue working with the legislature to fashion a program that promotes positive change in a constructive way."
 The poll also showed public opposition to the proposed funding method for HealthRight, a two percent tax on hospitals, physicians and other providers. Only 43 percent supported a tax on doctors, while only 42 percent supported a tax on hospitals.
 "A broad statewide program such as HealthRight should be financed with a broad, statewide tax, such as the state income tax," said Stephen Rogness, president of the Minnesota Hospital Association. "To have only the sick fund the health-care access plan, as the bill is currently structured, is like taxing only students to fund public education."
 -0- 4/7/92
 /CONTACT: Patti Anderson of the Minnesota Hospital Association, 612-331-5571; or Vic Ellison of the Council of Hospital Corporations, 612-641-1121/ CO: Minnesota Hospital Association; Council of Hospital Corporations ST: Minnesota IN: INS SU:


KH -- MN009 -- 5934 04/07/92 15:59 EDT
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Date:Apr 7, 1992
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