Posted BY: Deane Waldman, M.D.

A recently released Gallup poll on healthcare was simultaneously right and wrong.  It got statistically correct answers but asked the wrong questions.

Fifty-seven percent of the 1,020 adults polled responded that “the federal government should ensure all Americans have healthcare coverage,” presumably insurance.  Despite assigning healthcare responsibility to Washington, 53 percent wanted private insurance rather than government-supplied.  The article shied away from stating an inconvenient truth: what Americans say they want will not achieve what they really want and need.

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Most Americans do not distinguish healthcare from healthcare. In one word, healthcare refers to a massive system that consumes 18 percent of the U.S. GDP. In two words, health care means medical care, an intimate voluntary commercial service relationship between a patient and a physician. Americans don’t really care about healthcare — they want health…care, whatever they need when they need it.

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