Reform Has Done Little to Change Americans' Feelings About Healthcare System

Dissatisfaction with the American health-care system remains widespread despite passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), according to the "2010 Health Confidence Survey (HCS)" released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)and Matthew Greenwald & Associates, a market research company.

It's not the quality of health care or health plans that is causing the dissatisfaction. Almost 60 percent of Americans say they are extremely or very satisfied with the quality of medical care they have received, and a majority also give their health insurance company high marks.

It's the system itself, meaning the cost of health care and its availability, which bears the brunt of criticism. A majority of Americans rate the health care system itself as poor (27 percent) or fair (31 percent), the survey found.

Since health reform was enacted just a few months ago, the effect of the PPACA has yet to be felt. But confidence in the future availability of employment-based health benefits may have been affected by the passage of health reform, with fewer individuals confident that this coverage will be available in the future, the survey said. Researchers found that most Americans do not know when the legislation takes full effect.

"It is still too early to determine how the health-reform law is being received, but we do know Americans have been and continue to be unhappy with the nation's health-care system," said EBRI's Paul Fronstin. "But people do see the law as detrimental to employment-based health coverage, which is where most Americans currently obtain their health insurance coverage."

Ned Smith is a senior writer at BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site to MyHealthNewsDaily.