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Health Reform Views of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supporters:More from the CBN Poll PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   
Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Health Reform Views of  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supporters - More from the CodeBlueNow! Poll of Iowa Voters

Summary:  A recent poll on health reform issues commissioned by the non-partisan organization CodeBlueNow! found that 68% of Iowa voters favored inclusion of licensed CAM practitioners in basic benefits plans. The unusual inclusion of this complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) question in a broader reform survey created an opportunity to learn more about the opinions of the pro-CAM voter. How? One can examine "cross-tabulations" of outcomes on this question with outcomes of others. For example, are these voters aligned with investment in prevention? with a stronger role for the government? with employers in the driver's seat? with for universal coverage? Thanks to CodeBlueNow! we have an initial level of informed speculation.
Send your comments to
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.

integrative medicine, voter survey, CAM, alternative medicine, election 2008
Sponsor of the survey
Are you interested in knowing how individuals who support the inclusion of licensed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners in basic benefits feel about key health reform questions?

  • Do supporters of including licensed CAM practitioners back a government-run system? Employer-based?
  • Do supporters of including licensed CAM practitioners think there should be a basic benefits package for all US citizens?
  • What do they think about investment in prevention?

Thanks to the national, non-partisan CodeBlueNow! organization, we have a chance to begin to think about some connectivity on these issues for at least the 601 Iowa voters in the survey.

Two weeks ago, the Integrator ran an initial article which focused on one aspect of the survey. (See 
Iowa Health Reform Poll: 68% of Voters Want Licensed CAM Professionals Covered in Basic Benefits.) The poll was unusual: embedded in a more typical set of health reform questions, CodeBlueNow! asked participants whether they supported having licensed practitioners such as naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors in basic benefits plans. 68% responded affirmatively. (See Table 1, below, for a more elaborate breakdown than previously reported.)
______________________________

Table 1:
Basic Question - Regarding
Including
Licensed CAM Practitioners in Basic Benefits

"Note your level of agreement
or disagreement with
this statement ..."

 Strongly
Agree
 Agree  Neutral  Disagree  Strongly
Disagree
Don't
Know
   262  149  115  34  33 8
Basic health benefits should include coverage for any licensed
health care professional, such as naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors, as long as they are certified and licensed by the state and by their profession.
 43%  25%  21%  6% 5% 
1%
             

From survey by Gilmore Research Group for CodeBlueNow!, released October 9, 2007
_____________________________

The Integrator asked CodeBlueNow! to provide information on how these voters' responses to other health reform questions were aligned with their responses on this question. Sarah Smith of CodeBlueNow! provided the Integrator with "cross tabulations" which show how patterns of responses on other statements align with inclusion of licensed CAM practitioners. Table 2 is a first look at such insights from this survey.

_____________________________

Table 2:
Levels of Agreement Among Those Who Respond Affirmatively
on Various Health Reform Topics with Their Agreement
that Licensed CAM Practitioner Should be in Basic Benefit Plans:
Cross-Tabulated Responses

A = Agree  SA = Strongly Agree
"Including CAM" = Favorable on the licensed CAM question.

Column 2: The total of those A/SA with  the statement on the left.
Column 3:  Cross tabulation -  Those A/SA on the statement who are A on  Including CAM.
Column 4:  Cross tabulation -  Those A/SA on the statement who are SA on Including CAM.
Column 5:  Cross tabulation -  Those A/SA on the statement who are A/SA on Including CAM.
Column 6:  Cross tabulation -   % of those A/SA on the statement who are A/SA on including CAM.


"Note your level of agreement
or disagreement with
this statement ..."

A/SA
with the  statement
 in the left
column

Crosstab

A/SA who
"Agree" on
including CAM
Crosstab


A/SA who
"Strongly Agree" on
including CAM
Crosstab

A/SA who "Agree" or
"Strongly Agree" on
including CAM

Crosstab

% of those A/SA
with the  statement
 in the left
column
with those who are A/SA on including CAM
 Column #
 2  3  4  5 6
We must make sure every person in America has health coverage to assure affordable access to the health care services they need. 70%
(424)


17%
(104)
34%
(207) 

52%

(311)

73%
         
Health care is a community responsibility for public safety, like the fire department or police.

47%
(284)

11%
(66)

25%
(148)

36%
(214)

75%
         
Health insurance should be paid for by tax dollars and managed by local, state or federal government.
22%
(153)

3%
(21)

16%
(94)

19%
 (115)

75%
         
Employers should continue to play the major role in providing health insurance for their employees.
58%
(349)
15%
(91)
27%
(162)
42%
(253)
72%
         
Health insurance should be a personal responsibility like automobile insurance.
41%
(247)
9%
(53)
18%
(107)
27%
(160)
65%
         
We should have one set of basic health benefits for all our people. 52%
(312)
 12%
(72)
28%
(166) 
 40%
(238)
76%
         
Health care services should stress preventing disease rather than relying on high technology cures.
69%
(416)
17%
(102)
32%
(195)
49%
(297)
71%
           

From survey by Gilmore Research Group for CodeBlueNow!, released October 9, 2007

_____________________________

Analysis & Comments: Patterns of Alignment


I asked Kathleen O'Connor, CodeBlueNow! founder and CEO, for her perspective on these relationships:
“These findings reflect how highly prevention and choice of provider rank among Iowa voters, and that includes the integrative health care community.  More common ground exists on a number of issues than either the press or politicians acknowledge." Below are a few of my own perspectives.

voters, CAM, insurance coverage, integrative medicine, acupuncture, natruopathic physicians, chiropractic, Iowa, Harkin, election 2008, health reform
Kathleen O'Connor, founder and CEO, CodeBlueNow!
Prevention

My initial curiosity about the cross-tabs had to do with the alignment of the "CAM voters" with those in favor of "stressing prevention" in health care services. The self-talk of many in the CAM and integrative medicine fields is that they focus on a preventive care approach. One would expect, or hope to see, a high alignment. The cross-tabulation showed a 71% alignment.  Surprisingly, this is the second least of the cluster presented here.

Single payer/government system

The strong libertarian streak in the CAM field - based in part on an an experience of government as part of the medical-industrial complex - would suggest a low alignment here. In fact, only 22% of the Iowa voters surveyed favor a government-based approach. Interestingly, among those who did, we saw a high alignment with licensed CAM practitioner inclusion (75%).

Leave health care to individuals

While the government question produced the strongest alignment - albeit from a minority - the least alignment in this set of questions was found in whether health insurance should be left to an individual. Only 65% of the 41% who agreed with that statement also agreed with including all licensed CAM. Perhaps, saddled with personal responsibility for paying for care, putting CAM in basic benefits felt a stretch.

Everyone is covered

The top number of "strongly agree" supporters of licensed CAM with any of those responding affirmatively to any of these statements was on the value statement that everyone has affordable access to coverage. 207 of those viewing this perspective affirmatively strongly agreed that CAM should be included.

Additional comments

These data released to the Integrator suggest that there is a strong subset of activists on this issue, since over 2 in 5 voters "strongly agree" with inclusion of licensed CAM practitioner. Why, in Iowa? To give credit where it is due, Iowa happens to be the home of the Palmer College of Chiropractic as well CAM's best friend in Congress, US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). That stated, it's interesting to note that the "naturopathic physicians" who are featured in the question are not even licensed in that state.

One other useful data point: In the question about inclusion of licensed CAM practitioners, 89% are not opposed. To put this in politico-speak: The inclusion issue has low negatives. Directly stated: A politician wouldn't be expected to lose much from voters by running with this ideas as a platform. (There may be some push back from conventional stakeholders, however.) These low negatives, paired with the high percentage who could be activated by a candidate's outspoken support of the issue suggests that it may further a candidate's chances if he or she crosses the great water and brings up this issue.


Disclosure:
I recently joined the board of CodeBlueNow!

Send your comments to
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.


Last Updated ( Friday, 16 November 2007 )
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