Quotes From Kaiser Family Foundation Briefing, Discussion on Priorities for Health Policy
At a public briefing on Thursday, the Kaiser Family Foundation – in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health – presented the results of a new public poll on key health policy priorities for state and federal lawmakers. The findings informed a discussion between officials from the two organizations and Harvard with reporters from the New York Times, NPR and the Wall Street Journal about some of the nation’s biggest economic and health policy issues.
Here are some notable quotes from that discussion.
“[T]here are [aspects of the health insurance exchanges] that both people on the left and people on the right can like. But reason itself has been eclipsed by ideology in the debate over the [Affordable Care Act] because the ACA has just become a symbol of the larger partisan divide in the country.” – Drew Altman, president and CEO of KFF, commenting on the poll’s finding that a majority of U.S. residents – who identify as Democrats and Republicans – consider the insurance marketplaces at the top of their state’s priority list.
“What was sharply highlighted in the survey is that people start from a different basic understanding than policymakers, and that is a problem if there is ever is to be public understanding and support for whatever comes out of Washington in the next several months.” — Altman, noting the reluctance by the public to include Medicare cuts in discussions about reducing the budget deficit.
“[The creation of the exchanges] gets more support across all political persuasions than any health policy priority … And certainly those who are establishing these exchanges can use that factor … in their marketing, their messaging and framing.” — Mollyanne Brodie, senior vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at KFF, urging federal lawmakers to take advantage of the opportunity to sway public opinion on the exchanges.
“Health insurance is important, but it’s not sufficient. We spend $2.5 trillion dollars annually on health care; we spend very little on prevention.” — David Colby, vice president for public policy at RWJF, noting the public’s increasing support for preventive health care.
“In the presence of a knowledge vacuum, it is very easy to mislead or frighten people. That’s a lot of what we’re seeing now with not only the [ACA], but Medicare and Medicaid.” – Julie Rovner, health policy correspondent for NPR, noting how some lawmakers have attempted to manipulate the public’s relative lack of knowledge on health care issues.
“Obama knows that without doing something about the deficit, the federal government would become a giant health and retirement insurance operation, with a few tanks and a big interest tab.” — David Wessel, economics editor and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, speculating on the likelihood that Congress will reach a compromise on the deficit over the next few months.
By Hanna Jaquith, Staff Writer