Americans Want Overhaul

Americans are dissatisfied with the U.S. health care system and 82 percent think it should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to a new survey released by The Commonwealth Fund. It was conducted by telephone with a representative sample of 1,004 adults ages 18 and older living in the U.S. Interviews took place in May 2008.

Nine out of ten surveyed felt it was important that the presidential candidates propose reform plans that would improve health care quality, ensure that all Americans can afford health care and insurance, and decrease the number of uninsured. Adults across all income groups reported experiencing inefficient care.

The survey found that people are frustrated with the way they get health care. 47 percent of patients experienced poorly coordinated medical care in the past two years - meaning that they were not informed about medical test results or had to call repeatedly to get them, or poor communication between medical staff.

Respondents pointed out the need for a more cohesive care system. Nine of ten believe that it is very important or important to have one place or doctor responsible for their primary care. Similarly, there was substantial public support for wider adoption of health information technology. Nine of ten adults also wanted easy access to their own medical records, and thought it was important that all their doctors have such access as well.

Also, problems with access to health care were reported - nearly three out of four (73%) had difficulties getting timely doctors' appointments, phone advice, or after-hours care without having to go to the emergency room. Although the uninsured were the most likely to report problems, 26 percent of adults with health insurance also said it was difficult to get same - or next- day appointments when they were sick. And 39 percent said it was hard to get through to their doctors on the phone when they needed them.; Source: Commonwealth Fund