Survey: 42% of Voters Support Cuts to Federal Spending on Health IT

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Forty-two percent of surveyed U.S. voters said the federal government should curb health care costs by reducing the amount of money invested in health IT, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, Healthcare Finance News reports (Anderson, Healthcare Finance News, 11/28).

Study Details

The report is based on an online survey of 1,202 registered U.S. voters.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that during President Obama's second term in office, he should prioritize lowering health care costs (Punke, Becker's Hospital Review, 11/28).

Researchers Comment on Health IT-Related Findings

The PwC researchers stated that the survey "reveals a gap in public attitudes and the agenda in Washington." The report noted that the federal government has undertaken major investments in health IT, including an additional $28 billion budget for health IT initiatives through 2015.

The report stated, "Most industry experts believe that interoperable digital records and sophisticated clinical informatics will lead to improved health outcomes and eventually, lower costs." It added, "Early studies suggest that real-time electronic data can help improve patient compliance, reduce medical errors and speed accurate diagnoses. However, voters do not seem to have gotten that message."

Additional Survey Findings

The survey asked voters about other methods to reduce health care costs and found that:

  • 31% support reducing spending on public health and prevention programs;
  • 27% support cuts to subsidized care, including Medicaid, for low-income individuals; and
  • 21% support reductions to research and development investments for new drugs.

In addition, the survey asked voters about their perception of the Affordable Care Act and found that:

  • 43% said the law should be modified;
  • 36% said the law should be repealed full; and
  • 21% said they supported the current law (Healthcare Finance News, 11/28).
Eva Powell
The question answered was NOT if Health IT spending should be cut; it was what the top 2 priorities for health spending should be. Reduction in healthcare costs was #1, while Health IT was ranked lower, likely due to the lack of meaningful consumer benefits in “Meaningful Use.” What most people don’t know is that top priorities for federal spending require health IT. The federal government’s investment in health IT will soon provide consumer benefits that have not yet been available to the majority of Americans. The National Partnership for Women & Families found in a survey last year that people with electronic access to their own health information were much more likely to find value in health IT than those who do not have such access. Opening the world of health information up to consumers will be a game-changer, because it enables them to use their data as they choose, and partner with their providers. Many will find that to be a worthy investment of their tax dollars.
Judith Pruuitt
If they are going to make EHR's mandatory as part of the Healthcare Reform then compensation has to be a part of this as well. This is also part of the MU of EHR's and compensating physicians and hospitals for spending millions of dollars to implement the software that is heavily regulated. Without this compensation the Healthcare IT portion would not be able to survive.
John Trader
Wonder how many of those that participated in the study shared conservative political views. Seems as if it may be more than 50%.

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