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Has the pandemic changed US views on health care?

The height of the coronavirus pandemic put immense pressure on the US health care system as hospital beds were filled to capacity, while many medical procedures were postponed. Did this event change American views on big changes to health care? Not really, according to a new study.

A survey by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs research found that people are still more likely to prefer the private sector than the government to drive innovation in health care, improve quality and provide coverage.

An earlier edition of this survey conducted in February produced similar results.

Overall, people are more likely to trust private entities over government when it comes to health care innovation and quality and adequate insurance coverage. The one area where Americans have more confidence in the government is its ability to reduce costs.

Another finding from the study is that overall health care worries are currently down.

“Our data are showing that in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, people’s assessments of their own situations are holding steady, or even better than they were before the COVID outbreak started to unfurl,”  Jennifer Benz, deputy director of the AP-NORC center, said in an article on the study. “It feels a little counter-intuitive.”

What’s going on?

“I wonder if the short-term crisis dampens people’s appetite for health system reform,” Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, said in the article. “The idea of upending the health system at this moment … it may be that people think, ‘No — let’s get a vaccine.’ ”

Have your views on US health care changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know at Voices for Affordable Health.