Last year, a survey conducted by the Gilmore Research Group and commissioned by CodeBlueNow! sampled the opinions of registered voters in Iowa regarding health care.1 The demographic mix of those participating in the survey was similar to that of the state.
The topic of the survey was "Iowa Health Care Issues" and the stated purpose was "to obtain their opinions regarding health care in the United States." Those surveyed were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement (among others):
"Basic health benefits should include coverage for any licensed health care professional, such as naturopaths, acupuncturists and chiropractors, as long as they are certified and licensed by the state and by their profession."
Approximately two-thirds (68 percent) of registered Iowa voters who were surveyed agreed with this statement. Only 11 percent disagreed, and 19 percent were neutral.
More recently, the Gilmore Research Group conducted a similar study in the state of Washington,2 asking a representative group of voters if they agreed or disagreed with the above statement. Washington voters were even more enthusiastic about having acupuncture and other services covered, with 75 percent in agreement. Only 10 percent disagreed and 14 percent were neutral.
Surveys such as this are obviously very powerful and can be made known to decision-makers and the acupuncture profession. A few more surveys of a few more states might demonstrate a trend among voters. Once the trend is established, politicians will be obliged to consider acupuncture coverage as a basic health benefit in any future health care reform debates.
Political decisions are based (generally) on what voters demand. Voter surveys are an effective way to get the demands of the voters into the minds of their elected representatives. CodeBlueNow! has re-examined the results of its two surveys by political persuasion of the respondents (Democrats, Republicans or Independents).3 What they found is that there is little disagreement between the political positions. When it comes to including coverage for "any licensed health care professional," the results breakdown as follows:
The message these findings send is clear. Acupuncture care is not considered "alternative" or "complementary" by American consumers. Thus far, the surveys have demonstrated that voters (regardless of political affiliation) want acupuncture to be covered as a "basic health benefit."
Iowa Health Care Issues Survey Results. Conducted by The Gilmore Research Group. September 2007.
Washington Health Care Issues Survey Results. Conducted by The Gilmore Research Group. December 2007
CodeBlueNow! Pulse ® Iowa and Washington State Data: Building the Voters' Health Care Platform.