So, one thing has continually troubled me throughout the health care debate, and this is the consistent polling showing opposition to the individual mandate. It’s taken me a while, but I think that I have finally figured this out.
THIS article reviewing data from the AFLAC Workforces Report shows that we are doing a terrible job in educating our public on health concerns.
six out of ten workers (62 percent) think it’s not very or not at all likely they or a family member will be diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer, and more than half (55 percent) said they were not very or not at all likely to be diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as heart disease or diabetes.
But of course, this is not reality. This fundamental disconnect as the article notes, is more than simply problematic..
Americans may be overly optimistic when it comes to thinking they won’t ever be diagnosed with a serious illness or experience an accident. According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2012, one in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and the National Safety Council, Injury Facts 2011 edition, says that more than 38.9 million medically consulted injuries occur in a year. The American Heart Association, Heart Disease & Stroke Statistics 2012, show that one in six deaths in the U.S. was caused by coronary heart disease. “The fact that American workers aren’t aware of their medical risks and the potential financial impact of those risks is a very real concern that is only compounded when workers don’t take full advantage of available benefits options or adjust their savings strategies to be more prepared,” said Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of Corporate Services at Aflac. “Now, more than ever, people need to understand that well-being means more than just good health—it’s being prepared for the reality of whatever life may bring and taking the necessary measures to protect themselves and their families.”
I think that this explains this. Certainly some people are fundamentally opposed to government mandates of any sort, but they would hardly constitute a plurality, let alone a majority, but pure ignorance, or a magical suspension of disbelief I think explains it. I cannot think of any other explanation.
Having watched several relatives go through illness that resulted in death, and having a chronic condition myself, I simply cannot help but wonder how people have reached this conclusion. The simple fact that they don’t understand this is likely more troublesome than a rejection of the mandate itself.